The Voting Booth After Dark by Vanessa Libertad Garcia is as book filled with disgust, shame, rejection, misunderstanding and failure. Its language at most times, leaves the reader feeling dirty and ashamed. “…mouth foaming/ nipples scraping/ Sucking the nectar out of life’s veins.” It is this heavy, provocative imagery that fuels the next few pieces.
The book seems to hit a road block when it approaches a different type of writing style in “Hatred.” Hatred is an instant message conversation that, aside from adding some comic relief, does little for the book because the form is hard to follow from outside of the conversation.
After this point, the book enters a more narrative mode and uses language in less creative ways and in a more expected and simple manner. There is no longer a sense of inclusion between the lines but a sense of unwelcome. The things that make the characters minorities and different, are now things that make them unrelatable and distant.
Upon finishing the book, there is a layer of filth and a sense of pain and distrust in heart. Nothing will ever be okay for the characters that inhabit this book. They will continue the vicious cycles that have ruined their lives and will have nothing to show for it.
If personal struggle is what you are in the mood for, The Voting Booth After Dark is a place to go. The language is not that fancy and at times is even unpleasant, but after some digging this book holds a mirror to the face of our broken and battered country. And it’s not pretty.