The Pillow Thoughts series by Courtney Peppernell is a collection of books that I had always been wanting to delve into but just never got round to, that is until 2020. As I’ve already mentioned numerous times here, I got into reading poetry in a big way at the beginning of the pandemic. It was a light form of literature that didn’t require too much of my attention and energy but nevertheless, I still became completely immersed in and it took my attention far from the dreadful, dooms-day-esque news of the world at that time. It was the perfect read and the first step of a long love of poetry that I’ve had ever since.
Having now read not only all the Pillow Thoughts books, but also a number of Peppernell’s other works, I definitely get the strong sense of healing through her poetry. Whether this was a conscious choice in her words and themes or not, I don’t know but it’s something that I have definitely noticed. Her soulful series Pillow Thoughts, explores a range of emotions that come with love and loss as well as being accompanied with her signature illustrated jelly-fish friend; whose almost the mascot for the series.
A collection of poetry and prose, this first instalment to the Pillow Thoughts series covers love, heartbreak, and every emotion that comes with it. This book was so beautiful and moving for me. Unlike a lot of other poetry collections that I’ve since read, this first book is quite big and dense; in fact, that is something that could be said for all of Peppernell’s Pillow Thoughts books. They’re quite chunky compared to other poetry books out there. Having said this, I personally found it to be quite a quick read. Not because of lack of substance but more because her pieces are so well-written and flow so eloquently, you can’t help but let yourself be taken in and just enjoy the process.
This book felt so candid. There is an honesty and rawness to the emotions that Peppernell writes about. Her words are incredibly moving and you feel like you’re being allowed into something quite intimate. Peppernell’s depiction of love, soul-searching and long-distance relationships were really quite beautiful and left you with a feeling of encouragement, rather than loss or any bitter feeling. I found such comfort in this book. It also has one of my favourite pieces of prose: Shopping for Ice cream.
The second book to the series, I didn’t connect with Healing the Heart as much but I still found it to be quite a heart-warming read. Sectioned into five chapters, this book is full of inspirational and comforting poetry and prose to mend a broken heart. This one focuses a lot more on the little things and moments. It wasn’t as thought-provoking or hard-hitting as the first book, and sometimes felt more like anecdotes than poetry. I will say that, at times I found the theme of love a bit cliche and icky for my own taste, but I still found some gems in this book.
Hitting a bigger variety of themes, this book dealt with love, mental illness, personal strength, hope, believing in yourself, and self-doubt. This one sticks out as one of, if not my favourite of the series as it was incredibly relatable. Peppernell’s ability to put everyday thoughts and feelings into accessible language for everyone to enjoy and relate to is one thing but to do it with such beautiful and musical words is quite another. I also think this is the one I related to the most because the themes and topics drawn on in this addition are things I often struggle with myself and think about a lot while trying to sleep; drawing back to that perfect series title Pillow Thoughts.
The fourth and final instalment to the series, Stitching the Soul as suggested revolves around self-healing. It deals with themes of love, loneliness, healing, distance, and hope but within the frame of self-healing. This book is sectioned into eight portions, dealing with grieving, loneliness, soul-searching, wholeness, empowerment, taking a breath, needing a friend, and looking after your soul.
This one I found a little bit repetitive, dwelling on certain elements a bit too much for my own liking. I did wonder if this book was added to the series a bit too rapidly, with it being the last book to the series it’s easy to think that maybe Peppernell maybe wanted it completed. Having said that, I also wonder if the theme of self-healing was a bit too small or even unrealised for a collection of this size. I will say that there were elements of this book that I enjoyed but it just didn’t hit the same note for me that her previous books had and for that reason it is the weakest addition to the collection.
As I have mentioned, I have read a number of Peppernell’s other works and no doubt they will be appearing on this space sometime soon so stay tuned. If you have read any of the above and thought differently to me, please do get in touch. I’d love to discuss these works further.
Cheerio for now!