3 out of 4 stars
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When daily life feels like a constant struggle, how can you begin to overcome a suffocating sense of inadequacy? Eternal isolation leads some souls to rage against reality in a desperate attempt to feel like something more than just an empty shell. Control. is a painfully honest collection of poetry by Kara Petrovic. Throughout various inpatient psychiatric admissions, this author spent several years deeply immersed in mental health treatment centers. The resulting impressions and experiences led to this publication of dark, gritty, and unapologetically authentic content. The book is divided into three broad sections that explore different coping methods Petrovic intimately encountered.
Rotting flesh, burn marks, tequila-induced numbness, submissive sex acts, narcotic use, and pharmaceutical cocktails were all mentioned. The poetic passages addressed the tendency we all have to internalize our emotions. If we shield ourselves from external sources of judgment and criticism, it helps us (somewhat) limit our degree of emotional instability. Petrovic attempts to relinquish control while maintaining a tenuous grip on sanity, but the ultimate road to recovery and contentment can be a difficult and complicated one. I specifically enjoyed the poem “IT’S A MAN’S WORLD,” but there was also a particularly poignant passage that appeared in “SCORCHED EARTH”:
At least ten minor grammatical errors were present, and I did encounter several instances of odd and exaggerated spacing that somewhat disrupted the visual flow of information. From a formatting standpoint, this book would likely benefit from an editorial revision. Many passages appeared to contain run-on sentences, but I feel they were a stylistic choice made by the author intentionally. Other than the poem titles themselves, capital letters rarely appeared throughout this book, so end punctuation was the only indicator of sentence separation, and proper nouns were shown in lowercase font. The aforementioned errors and observations were the only aspects I disliked.“i am littered in scars and
covered with bad intentions
ineffective coping mechanisms
and a sorry personality”
Due to the prevalent presence of graphic, mature themes, sexual content, and scattered profanity, I feel this book would only be appropriate for adult audiences. Other trauma survivors will respect the transparency of the poetic truths. Anyone who has personally experienced or been diagnosed with a mental health disorder will connect deeply with the psychopharmacologic treatments mentioned. The author has included thoughtful trigger warnings about drug abuse, self-harm, sexual assault, and suicidality in the opening pages. The individual warnings accompany all applicable sections, so readers wishing to avoid certain topics have the tools to do just that.
I award this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. The author bravely shared all aspects of a journey that took them through the highs and lows of bargaining, longing, loathing, self-compassion, sedation, guilt, regret, and soulful mourning. Through sharing this authentic collection of poetic rhetoric, Petrovic hoped to process many past hurts and insecurities. The ultimate path to long-term healing is a convoluted road that cannot be walked alone.
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