You’ll Never Walk Alone by Rachel Kelly

My enormous thanks to Bei Guo at Midas for sending me a copy of You’ll Never Walk Alone by Rachel Kelly. I didn’t realise it was a signed and dedicated copy until I began reading so I was thrilled. Ironically, You’ll Never Walk Alone arrived just at a point when I really needed a boost and I’m delighted to share my review today.

You’ll Never Walk Alone was published by Yellow Kite on 3rd November 2022 and is available for purchase through the links here.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Words can be a way to unlock our feelings. Poetry allows us to be in touch with our emotions and helps us unlock and explore our vulnerability.

You’ll Never Walk Alone
 is a collection of the kind of inspirational texts – mainly poems – that can accompany us, whatever we are feeling, from sorrow to delight. The texts are not just about words which can console us or comfort us – though they often do this too. Rather these are poems that allow us to enjoy a full range of emotions. The poems are organised according to the season in which they ‘belong’: we all have seasons of our minds, be they wintery and dark, or more spring-like and hopeful. Comprising 52 poems, with analysis by Rachel, You’ll Never Walk Alone introduces a poem for each week of the year plus tips on bringing poetry into your life.

This book will show you how to bring poetry into your everyday emotional reality, where it can be a new tool for wellbeing. And one that means you’ll never walk alone.

My Review of You’ll Never Walk Alone

A poetic companion for when times are hard.

From Rachel Kelly’s heartfelt introduction advocating the power of poetry You’ll Never Walk Alone is an inclusive, supportive and effective book that makes the reader feel as if they are understood and given succour. The use of the pronouns I and you has the effect of Rachel Kelly speaking directly to the reader and to them alone as a friend might. I loved this feeling of a friend in a time of need.

I found You’ll Never Walk Alone completely surprising. Whilst I always enjoy exploring poems and I love being out in the natural world, I’d never truly considered poetry as a seasonal entity – despite studying and teaching seasonal poems in my past! There are also short prose pieces too that balance the book and provide another perspective.

Rachel Kelly’s accessible analysis of the entries is completely engaging and another means by which the reader feels included. Someone familiar with poetry can decide if Rachel Kelly’s thoughts attune with their own and those amongst us who find poetry mysterious or challenging will feel guided in understanding the poets’ meanings. In amongst the eclectic entries from familiar writers like Gerard Manly Hopkins to those I hadn’t previously read, like Jane Hirschfield, I was also surprised to find some of the entries sparked memories for me too, enabling me to get back in touch with myself as a human being. Advice on Crossing a Street in Delhi by Grace Nichols made me remember the lunacy of trying to cross the road in Shanghai or Marrakesh and reignited the experiences I had had. Genuinely, You’ll Never Walk Alone made me feel more alive.

That’s not to say that You’ll Never Walk Alone is a glib panacea for depression or sadness. Some of the entries are despairing and negative, affording the reader the opportunity to realise all emotions are valid and acceptable – it’s what we do with those emotions that counts.

I hadn’t expected the natural artwork in the book that further enhances the power of both poetry and nature to heal and support. I thought this was a wonderful touch and would help make You’ll Never Walk Alone a caring gift for someone struggling with life. As well as the entries and commentaries, I loved the biographies in the back of the book and the four suggestions for including poetry more in the reader’s life because they give interest and engagement long after the book is read.

You’ll Never Walk Alone is a deceptive book. On the surface it appears relatively simple, with a selection of some 52 mostly poetic entries (one for each week of the year) alongside notes from Rachel Kelly, but it is so much more than the sum of its parts. There’s all of humanity laid bare here with something for every reader between the pages. I thought it was a wonderful book and it will be living on my bedside table so that I can turn to it when I need to. I really recommend You’ll Never Walk Alone.

About Rachel Kelly

Rachel Kelly is a keynote speaker, bestselling writer and mental health campaigner. She shares her experience of depression and evidence-based strategies that helped her recover. Rachel has spoken all over the world from Delhi to Sydney, America and across the UK. Her critically acclaimed books are published in over 10 countries.

Rachel is also a well-known media commentator and former Times journalist as well as an official ambassador for mental health charities Rethink Mental Illness, SANE, The Counselling Foundation and Head Talks.

Her long-standing passion for poetry led to her becoming the co-founder of the iF poetry app (2011) and co-editor of iF: A Treasury of Poetry for Almost Every Possibility (Canongate, 2012). She is the author of Black Rainbow, The Happy KitchenWalking on Sunshine and Singing in the Rain. Rachel lives in London with her husband, Sebastian, and their five children.

For further information, visit Rachel’s website, follow her on Twitter @rachelkellynet, and find her on Facebook or Instagram.

4 thoughts on “You’ll Never Walk Alone by Rachel Kelly

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