I want to be honest about two things right up front. 1. Author Vanessa Grillone is a fellow blogger, and friend, who I met while we were both interns at Random House of Canada. 2. I don't usually read poetry. I felt like these were two big things to get out of the way before starting the review of Grillone's work, My Pen, My Voice. Now that we've taken care of that, let's move onto the review!
Here's the summary of this collection:
Every girl has secrets. Every girl experiences things she is afraid to talk about. And every girl has her own outlet. For Vanessa Grillone, that outlet is writing."My Pen, My Voice" artfully records the trials and errors one girl endures in order to become an independent and strong young woman. Through a mixture of prose and poetry, Grillone digs into the heart of the often difficult teenage years, when emotions are high, changes are fast, and life is all-consuming.Grillone's entries encompass the turbulent range of teenage angst. From struggling to understand her need to go her own way to trying to come to terms with her frequent mood swings, her poems reveals with painful intimacy the confusion and heartbreak of growing up. Her vivid language and heartfelt words convey not only her honesty, but her fragility. With a keen eye for the human heart, "My Pen, My Voice" offers compelling compositions. Journey with Grillone on her path to self-discovery, one that ultimately offers insight into the female mind during its most fragile yearsThe way Grillone put this collection together was really interesting and, in my opinion, wise. The book was broken up into three parts and each piece was read in chronological order. Part One, "Emotions at an Awkward Age", was aptly titled. The poems start from age twelve and end at seventeen. I know I have poems from that time period that I wouldn't want anyone to read so I commend Vanessa on including these works. This was probably the hardest section for me to read because I think I wanted a different structure for some of the poems. That didn't mean they were bad poems. It's just that my non-verse reading brain wasn't used to the way the poems were written.
My favourite section was Part Three, "A New Chapter, A New Beginning". I'm sure part of that is because most of it is in prose, not poetry, but it's also because it felt more real to me. There were more feelings in this work instead of trying to conform to the structure of a poem.
What I really liked about this collection was that Vanessa's feelings came through on every page, in every piece. I felt her confusion, her heartbreak, her happiness. The honesty and realness is what makes this a compelling read.
I'm really glad I got the chance to read My Pen, My Voice by Vanessa Grillone. I had already known she was a real and heartfelt writer from reading her blog of the same name but being able to read her words in a book I could hold in my hands was a really great experience. If you like poetry and an honest, diary like approach to writing, definitely check this one out.
*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.*