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Review: Cutting Apples by Jomé Rain

Cutting Apples by Jomé Rain was kindly given to me by Querencia Press in return for a fair and honest review.


Written during the 2020 lockdowns, Jomé Rain's stream of consciousness style memoir documents what it is like to spend quarantine alone. Many of us during the pandemic were forced to sit with ourselves, comfort and accompany ourselves through a globally traumatic event. Even the littlest things became monumental and Rain demonstrates this perfectly as the speaker begins with simply cutting apples.

Rain's writing style, for me, is a glorious mix reminiscent of J. D. Salinger and Sabrina Benaim; except Rain's speaker is far more likeable than Holden Caulfield (I say that even when Catcher in the Rye is my favourite novel). The repetition used to drive home both isolation and emotion recalls Benaim's slam poetry style, inviting any reader into the speaker's psyche and body. Rain allows us to find ourselves in the speaker's conscience, allows us to stay a while, and remember how often we have felt the same.

I am sad because life is made of manipulations, and I am sad because I'm no fucking good at them. I am sad because I am crying, and that only makes me cry more. I am sad because I feel embarrassed of being made to cry by a woman who had no intention to have that effect on me and has also possibly and probably lost her mind.

At the forefront of Cutting Apples are romantic and familial relationships; the relationships tested at a time of distance and the inability to communicate physically. And I loved how honest Rain's reflections were. We are taught we are a combination of our parents but those who wish to break cycles and end generational trauma often find this a hard pill to swallow. Rain's speaker swallows it.

I keep making strides to un-crazy myself and I can only get so far before the tree comes knocking to remind me that I'm an apple.

There is forgiveness here too. The time alone, in which we were forced to sit with our past, present and future, prompted a kaleidoscope of emotion. Rain discovers both anger and peace. Particularly in how Rain remembers others - how Rain chooses to remember others. This moved me as it is a kind yet stern reminder that we are instrumental in how we allow others to impact us. The simple truth that we do not have to hold on to the troubles of others, they are not ours to carry.

And when she goes, I say a prayer that she will be safe on her journey, and I pray too that it will bring her back to me again.

A lot of writing was born out of the pandemic but Cutting Apples is special because despite the time within which it was written, the content and the reflections upon others and the self it holds is timeless. Rain's work is an opportunity to delve into the self and solitude.


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