4 out of 4 stars
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Love, trauma, life’s challenges, healing, and self-discovery are the main themes covered in the book, Tourmaline, by Ginger Tran. The book consists of over fifty short poems. Tran’s poetry is written in the free verse style which makes each poem feel like a heartfelt conversation rather than a rhyme. She bares her emotions through her poems in a way that is easy to understand yet thought-provoking.
Reading this collection of poems will surely bring value to anyone who reads it. This book will appeal most to poetry lovers. However, misunderstood adults, young adults, and elderlies may also find solace from reading Tran’s thoughtful poems. Adult themes and profanity were expressed in some of the poems, so I would not recommend it to teens or children.
I would describe my reading experience of Tourmaline as meditative. Tran’s poems were quite somber, but I appreciated that they made me question myself and my emotions. For instance, in the poem ‘Boundaries’, I reflected upon how I could be my own person without losing myself when connecting with others. This poem made me question my individuality and the way I express myself. I also liked that a few of the poems encouraged me to practice gratitude and mindfulness. My favorite one was called ‘Feel You I’ because it reminded me of the small moments in my everyday life in which God’s presence can be felt.
Another thing which I liked was the unpredictability of some of the poems. I was very shocked when I read the poem ‘Loveletter’. The poem described someone who smoked a love letter in a pipe, but she forgot that the ink was poisonous. This poem was a bit disturbing, but I appreciated that it was able to evoke an atmosphere of fright and suspense. The poem entitled, ‘Lightness’ was another unpredictable one because it started off in a very sorrowful way, but it had a surprisingly happy ending which immediately lifted my mood.
It was difficult to find any features of Tran’s poetry to dislike. However, two of her poems contained obscene words. I did not appreciate this. It definitely threw me off because I wasn’t expecting it. This was the only thing that I did not like.
Tran’s poems did not consist of whimsical descriptions like most poems do. Instead, they portrayed interesting concepts of human emotions and self-discovery which caused me to contemplate my own experiences. I liked that several of her poems were able to change my mood. Furthermore, I was really impressed that there were no glaring grammatical or typographical errors in the book. At first, I found it was strange that no capital letters were used in the entire book, but this appeared to be part of the poet’s writing style. This made the book rather unique. I considered all of these positive attributes before deciding to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I did not deduct a star for the one thing I disliked because profanity seemed trivial compared to the book’s other features.
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