Book review – Helium (Spoiler Free)

“I know that our hands break things just as frequent as we can fix them. And we often forget that sexism is a family heirloom that we’ve been passing down for generations. As men, it is important that we start asking ourselves. What will the boys learn from us?”


  • Title: Helium
  • Author: Rudy Francisco
  • Genre: Poetry
  • Pages: 96 pages
  • Publication date: November 28, 2017
  • Publisher: Button Poetry

I wanted to read Rudy’s poetry collection after a video of him speaking a poem out loud found its place on my Facebook feed. The more he spoke, the more I got chills.

Now, I’m a bit late to the party. That video I saw was posted two years ago, and I got the book about two months ago. But better late than never.

His poems cover simple every day occurrences to a few huge low points. I felt that they hit a wider range of emotion and life unlike some other collections that I have read. The other collections dedicated a 100 pages to one large moment (whether it was abuse or an intense break up). They’d crawl through the beginning, middle, and end of all those emotions. Rudy’s poetry did not feel like that.

Instead, it was more like years, of going up and down, on a rollercoaster. I’d never know what the next poem was going to be about. (Sometimes his titles made me smile.) It was all a surprise.

My biggest critique would be how off-putting his words could be at times. He wasn’t a hero. I’m not sure he is one now. He admits to his wrongs though and puts them on the page for the world to see, which is brave. But it felt like they came out a bit too strong sometimes. Or at least I wanted some resolution that showed me exactly how he grew from those low moments if at all.

Overall though, it was one of the best poetry collections I had read. (The other great one isn’t published yet. Life of an editor.) But Helium is a great, quick read and something that I’d recommend to anyone with a PG13 mindset.

Score: 8.7/10
Average rating on Goodreads: 4.38/5

2 thoughts on “Book review – Helium (Spoiler Free)

  1. Mainly on the strength of your recommendation, Robin, I have ordered Helium from Amazon. It sounds very much like something I’d be interested in, and a quick look at one of his poems floored me. Thanks so much!

    Liked by 1 person

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