Abandonment Issues is a collection of prose and photography about life in New Jersey. It’s a space narrative where the state is its own character. The pieces look at empty buildings, changes in the landscape, and garbage on the street to understand one’s state of existing somewhere between entrapment and admiration.
Prose by Rachel Wagner:
Rachel is a writer from New Jersey. She wrote Back Like I Never Left, a collection of stories about dating as a single mother and teaches at Seton Hall University. She lives in Newark with her son.
Photography by Rokarazzi:
Rokarazzi is a photographer from Irvington, New Jersey and lives there with his daughter. He’s on IG @Rokarazzi
Akintola Hanif (HYCIDE Magazine Founder/Editor-in-Chief)
Abandonment Issues is a gem
I’m a visual person/artist and even though I have read extensively in the past, now a days my ADD gets in the way of that often. What’s refreshing about this book is the chapters are short and Rachel pains vivid pictures with her writing style which is conversational and direct. It’s like a friend was telling me a story and I wanted to hear more. I read AI in two sitting and that says it all. I would definitely recommend and/or use her for anything literary. Get you some!
5.0 out of 5 stars
You should own this book
In the follow-up to her first book, Rachel captures through her words not just amazing imagery of physical surroundings but also a mix of interactions and isolation that easily resonates with the reader. The photography from Rokarazzi adds another level of depth to what she’s trying to capture with this book, and the collaboration between these two artists is highly successful. There is some beautiful writing, be it when describing a fading memorial on a gate or a collection of plastic bottles (yes, my favorite sentence in the book gives plastic bottles much more depth and symbolism than one would think possible). The book is a quick read, and one that I’ve now read twice. Rachel brings New Jersey alive through commentary on her community and the people who inhabit it with her, and it’s both unique and engaging. Do yourself a favor and buy this book.
Local author @rachelwagner_ has released her 2nd book called “Abandonment Issues, Alive in New Jersey” recently. Like Rachel’s 1st book she fearlessly lets us into her personal thoughts. Rachel gave me a copy to read and then share my opinion with friends. I guess I have taken it a step further by actually writing up this short review. I should point out that Rachel is a friend and I have done my best to not let that influence my short review. If I didn’t like the book I wouldn’t offer any review but the truth is I did really enjoy reading her 2nd book probably more than her 1st book that I sincerely enjoyed.
Like Rachel’s 1st book this book also packs alot into a quick read. Although the book is laid out in chapters I see it as the 1st half and 2nd half. In the 1st half Rachel really opens herself up by sharing personal events of her younger years while relating them to community issues of yesterday and today. In the 2nd half Rachel shares more recent events in her life and again relating them to current community events/issues. I don’t want to share too many details from the book because I feel it’s important for the reader to experience them for themselves. This short review purpose is to let you know that this book is worth buying and reading. I would say, “support your local author” but only if their work is worth supporting! Rachel’s work is definitely worth supporting. I would also add that you should check out her website that contains many of her poems, reviews and short stories.
Not to be forgotten is the photography by artist Rokarazzi. The book has 20+ great photos of buildings, houses, and misc places all from our area. Some photos are from places that have been torn down with other that still remain in their different states of ruin. The photo’s are a great and go along with Rachel’s words beautifully.
Check out Rachel’s Instagram page for info on how to buy her book and the link to her website.
Disclaimer… We repair bicycles and use bicycles to make our community a better place. This is where our skills and expertise are and not being a critic.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Another great piece from a cool artist.
Another great book from Wagner. Adds a lot of depth to her collection as a follow up to her last release. In this one, the spaces of New Jersey are alive, the social issues feel more pressing, and the narratives live perfectly along side the images, giving a full picture of her community and how they all exist in it together. Really cool piece of art. Belongs in your collection.
I finished abandonment issues (a good, nuanced read) I have much respect for (White girl) chronicling single mother issues. I need your other book!