Book Review of Dancing with Elephants by Kalyn Nicholson

Dancing With Elephants
Goodreads Rating: 3.93
Published: 12/11/2019
Page Count: 427
Book URL:
A collection of poems and open journal entries by the author Kalyn Nicholson. Covering topics from love and heartbreak to chaos and self-discovery, each poem is laced in a cozy, magical energy that is sure to hold the reader suspended in the in-between.
3.5Overall Score
  • Cover Art
  • Impact
  • Pacing
  • Plot
  • Writing

Personally Purchased Affiliate Link

I was so excited when this book came out that I ordered it immediately from Amazon, as soon as I was able. Kalyn Nicholson has been one of my favorite YouTubers for a very long time. I love her cozy vibe and we seem to have a lot of similar ideals and interests. I forgot about the book for a bit as I was reading so many other things, but was happy to rediscover it in my TBR and sit down and get cozy with some poetry.

**MILD SPOILERS** Click black text to reveal spoilers.

**Trigger and Content Warnings**

This book discusses sensitive subjects that some readers may find triggering. Please take care of yourself. Triggers and content warnings in this story include, but are not limited to:

  • Body dysmorphia
  • Eating disorders
  • Mental illness
  • Relationship issues
  • Sex

Read more about Trigger and Content Warnings.

Quick Review

  • Overall I got the impression that this is group of poems about finding oneself, relationships describing love lost and found, and travel.
  • There are serious wanderlust and hopeful vibes throughout.
  • I was able to find and mark a few favorite poems from the start, and all the way through to the end.
  • I found the lack of pagination and poem titles a little frustrating.
  • Overall I enjoyed the idea of the book and the intention more than the actual real-life execution.

In Depth Review

This collection of poems will take you on a journey of love lost and found, of a person finding out who they truly are, and of someone discovering a lust for travel and adventure. The poems feel very vulnerable, raw, and heartfelt.

I honestly went into reading this poetry collection with the preconceived notion that it was going to feel a bit amateur, and sure maybe it did a bit, but I am actually very impressed and I throughly enjoyed it. I gave it a 3.5, but that’s a solid 3.5 for a new author. In the end I was left feeling hopeful and glad that I have this poetry book in my collection.

If I had to describe this book in two words: hopeful journey.

Reading Reactions

  1. Serious wanderlust feels straight form the beginning, which makes me want to travel NOW. Right now.
  2. Gets a little sensual and steamy.
  3. Made me want to respect my body more, as it is our vessel and should be treated with care.
  4. Makes me want to write poetry again, which I haven’t since I was in school.
  5. At times the poems reminded me how deeply sad and alone I can feel, I think that we can all feel (and that’s okay).
  6. As someone who has struggled with suicide, I found a few of the poems truly uplifting such as on page 206.
  7. So far in reading my favorite chapter is “Moon”, of course with my current lunar obsession.
  8. As with all poetry books, not all are my favorites nor do I like all of them (or understand all of them).
  9. Do not love the illustration which feel like random clip arts chosen because they relate to the words.
  10. For how short some poems are they feel unedited at times. For example “or are am I” (just another name) typos, grammar, etc.
  11. I love the feel, vibe, and sentiments of the poetry.
  12. Lots of fonts and font sizes; the ones on chapter headings are super small and in a font that’s hard to read.
  13. My thoughts throughout: so cute, that’s really sad, hope for the future, travel, lots of relationships, finding self, love and longing.
  14. The section“Earth” did not leave much of an impression on me, except the first poem which is one of fourteen I marked as my favorites.
  15. I enjoyed the chapter “Water” which spoke of love found and lost.
  16. Chapter “Fates” was short, sweet, and very cute.
  17. The section “Chaos” was unmemorable for me.
  18. “Rain” had more about love, but felt more heartfelt and true to me. I especially enjoyed 4-15-2018 and the poem after.
  19. The chapter “Lightning” = truth.

Book Look

NOTE: I read a paperback copy of the book that I purchased from Amazon.

  • Large paperback size, slightly smaller than a composition notebook, but thick like a paperback novel.
  • Cover is a standard weight paperback cover that is a matte black with white print and lettering with a star-field background.
  • Pages are a nice medium weight, bright white paper with a good tooth that is easy to grip.
  • The pages are NOT numbered and most of the poems do not have titles making it really hard to share your favorites with friends.
  • There is a variety of fonts throughout the book from script, serif, and san-serif, that would normally be fine for a poetry book. However a few of the fonts are very hard to read, especially the script font used to open each chapter, while others are printed so small they are almost impossible to read.
  • The poems are sectioned into nineteen chapters (19 for 2019?) that are marked off throughout out the book with a title page containing artwork, the title in a heading font, and a short opening poem in a script font.
  • Most spreads in the book have limited text, one page of artwork, and many blank pages. Most pages have a speckled star background, the reverse of the cover with the stars a light grey.
  • I do not love the illustrations, they feel like loosely related clip-art graphics quickly thrown together for an overall effect that is still nice, but lacking any real style or finesse.

Favorite Quotes

Happiness is not a permanent state, but wholeness and wellness can be.
Kalyn Nicholson
Forgive the moment for not being what you hoped it would be, and then being again.
Kalyn Nicholson
You’ll spend a lifetime
waiting to feel better
if you keep putting off
all the things
you know will
make you feel better
Kalyn Nicholson

Musical Suggestions

I recommend enjoying this book with some moody instrumental indie rock. ESSENTIAL: read with a hot cocoa and cream candle, a real steaming hot chocolate, and read at sunsets and sunrises. I enjoyed this book while listening to the playlist “Winter Lofi Hours” on Spotify by tomplayzgames.

Learn More About Dancing with Elephants

This page may contain affiliate links and if you make a purchase I will earn a small commission fee. I only endorse books, products, services, or content that I have used myself and wouldn’t hesitate to purchase again or recommend to a friend. If you purchase anything that I’ve used here, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do! Read the full disclosure.

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