3 out of 4 stars
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In Loving by Jon Trovato, the author explores the many facets of love through poetry about a woman he deeply admired. This collection is divided into four main acts, each of which elaborates on an aspect of his relationship with this unnamed woman. The first two acts focus on the author’s initial meeting with her and the overwhelming joy she brings into his life. Much of that joy stems from her many admirable qualities: a tenderness towards others, a magnetic smile, and a personal grace that no storm can vanquish. The bond that forms between them is enviable, leaving the impression of a perfect, fairytale romance. Alas, like most good things, their relationship starts to sour––and both of them bear responsibility. In the last two acts, where the illusions of love have vanished, he grapples with the painful aftermath while also trying to make sense of the bittersweet memories that linger and pervade his mind.
Jon Trovato presents a heart-wrenching piece filled with the raw emotions of two people who are madly in love. Several features enhance his poetry, and the most prominent one is the writing itself. With great care, he articulates his feelings for this woman through repeating thematic phrases. In particular, the evolving metaphor about constellations and their relation to love provides a refreshing take on an age-old concept. I also enjoy the other ideas in his poems, such as the significance of a person’s smile and the distinct aura each person emits.
Another noteworthy element is the author’s portrayal of himself and the woman. Despite the highly romanticized atmosphere of their relationship, Jon Trovato manages to preserve its connection to reality. To accomplish this feat, he centers some poems around simple, profound moments: in one scene, he observes the way she converses with other people, writing so accurately that one can’t help but wonder at the strength of such a memory. Authenticity is perhaps the best word that describes his work.
I only found a few issues in this poetry collection. First, the author’s use of free verse poetry involves very few commas. While I applaud the stylistic choice, this can confuse readers as it is difficult to know when to pause in the poem. In my experience, I struggled to discern the meaning of certain poems due to the run-on style. Lastly, the author seems to repeat some of his ideas; he tends to praise the woman’s qualities––her kindness, for example––in multiple poems using the same approach. Other than that, these poems exist as a model of what language can become in the hands of a capable writer.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars because, while the book appears to be well-edited given the presence of very few grammar errors, the poems themselves require more variety in their discussions. The writing is unquestionably beautiful: very few authors can describe love in the pure, elegant style that Jon Trovato has mastered. However, to improve the repetitive discourse about love’s universality, he could have featured more conversations between him and the woman. That addition could have granted a more personal touch to the poems and diversified the overall collection.
I recommend this book to readers who want a taste of the joy that comes from being in a relationship with someone. Given the lack of profanity and violence in the collection, which focuses primarily on love’s enduring power, both young teens and older adults will find it suitable.
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