Book Review: “The Octopus Curse, A Collection of Clingy Poems” by Salma Farook

“I remember better / The endings of sentences / I did not complete.”

The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook

Science would have us believe that we are nothing but cell upon cell. I disagree. We are made up of stories. The stories we hear from our mothers, the ones we tell our daughters. The tales we share with sisters and friends. The ones we never say out loud, but are heavy on our minds and run like a fever in our blood.

There are a multitude of great divides between us; race, religion, cultures, the way we dress, the languages we speak, but the stories we tell bridge us together in the universal tongue of smiles, tears, pain and laughter. They remind us that, as women, we’re all chasing similar fairy-tales.

This book is a call to celebrate the bridges, delight in our stories and to focus on the joy in our lives right now, rather than racing behind the happily-ever-after. That will come in it’s own time.

Before anything else, happy publication day to The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook! 💕 I remember when the author first approached me a few months ago about possibly reviewing her new poetry collection and how I hesitated because at the time, I just experienced the most devastating loss of my life so far–my father has just passed away. She was very kind and did not give me any pressure whatsoever on the request. Months later, I received an advanced reader’s copy of the book and upon reading it–I could only wish I read it sooner.

What I love most about poetry is that like any piece of art it depends on the reader/recipient’s perspective on how it will be interpreted and experienced. As for me, The Octopus Curse is a book for healing and transitions–it’s the type of book you’d want to have in your hand while you are struggling to get through a certain phase in your life, whether it be for freedom, for growth or for recovery.

“Because too much of any joy / Hurts so well, after. / Even sunshine burns / If you stay too long.”

The full title of the book is The Octopus Curse: A Collection of Clingy Poems. The poems are curated beautifully, with wonderful trivia about octopuses interspersed in between. I thought it was pretty clever for the author to use the octopus as a measure to explore human behavior, and as a tool to assess the different levels of attachment we have with our emotions or relationships.

Did I mention I also loved all the illustrations?

The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook

Like any other collection, of course there are some pieces that did not speak to me but those that did really made an impact. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is interested in reading poetry, I am sure you will also find one or two you will connect with.

“I see you wear your anger / Like a bulletproof vest / Over your pain; I must say, / Even as you walk away, / It looks bloody glorious / On you.”

It explores different kinds if relationships–romance, friendship, family, etc. but of course my favorite is the one about the new mother. If you’ve been following me for some time I’m sure you already know that I have a 3-yr-old son. Let me tell you, the fierce love that I only knew when I gave birth just gets stronger everyday. As Salma Farook eloquently describes it, even the sea would be jealous of this type of love only a mother could feel.

“She stood in front of the sea, / Fierce, / In a way only mothers can be, / And demanded / That each drop of water, / And every creature in it’s depths, / Pray for her baby.

“Nine months later, / The waves refuse to touch her feet, / Because she started seeing / Not only the ocean, / But the whole world, / Only in her daughter’s eyes.

“The sea, / I think, / was jealous, / That she had no mother of her own, / To insist the universe be perfect, / Just for her alone.”

Today is November 1st, All Saint’s Day, and here in the Philippines, we celebrate it by honoring our dearly departed. It is a time to remember all the happiness and love shared when they were still alive. A brief moment when we can temporarily put our daily tasks on hold and allow the sadness to consume us. For me, the sense of loss never goes away. It is just locked in a mental safe while I function as a human being.

So today as I think about my beloved father, I thank Salma Farook for lending me the words.

“The most heart-breaking / And yet, beautiful thing / About the last time, / Is that you never know, / That it is / The very last time.”

“The last word. / The last kiss. / We only know, / When we look back.”

“I pray that death be kind, / Not as much to the buried, / As to those left behind.”

“You leave only with the promise of return.”

The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook

Overall Rating: 4/5



About the Author

Salma Farook

Salma Farook is a Seychelloise doctor, writer and poet. A mental health and positive-thinking advocate, she strongly believes in the role of interfaith harmony and the power of words in making a positive impact on the world.

She was born on the islands to two ‘very Indian’ parents. She grew up on the islands and went on to complete Med-school in India. She believes the scenic beauty of the Seychelles and the cultural impact of one of the world’s oldest civilisations gave her the best of both worlds.

Although adept at observing tiny quirks in people and fascinated with the mechanics of human relationships, she regularly pushes doors that very clearly say PULL.

She currently lives on Mahé with her husband. She loves, loves to hear from her readers so reach out to

Book Details

The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook

The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published November 1st 2019 by SeaShell Publications
ISBN13 9789993183402
Genre: Poetry


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