Vulnerable AF by Tarriona Ball
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Tarriona "Tank" Ball's debut poetry collection is a reflection on the heartbreak wrought by a past relationship. As the title suggests, Ball's writing is vulnerable; when she speaks to the former object of her affection, there are palpable flashes of anger, confusion, and pure resentment. She also paints a vivid picture of her former lover, presenting us with the bits and pieces of him that drew him to her in the first place, and which inevitably ended up breaking her heart.
The book's poetry is interspersed with "Tank's Story Time", short stories that seemed intended to give some context to the poems surrounding them. However, I could've done without them. I didn't find myself connecting with any of them in any meaningful way. The book also includes some cool illustrations, all of which I absolutely adored. I found myself spending time picking these images apart as if they were poems themselves.
Given her slam poetry background, it was also no surprise that some of the poems possessed rhythm that needed to be taken into account to get the full effect of the piece. One of them is "Adam", which I have to say is my personal favorite. I honestly would love the opportunity to see this one performed live.
Overall, there were a lot of good poems, many of which I feel would resonate quite a bit with someone who is still in the throes of their own painful heartbreak. Personally, I just didn't feel emotionally drawn into enough of the poems, and maybe I'm just not the intended audience. However, I do feel that this poetry collection would speak most deeply to those in the midst of a breakup or anyone still holding a flame for someone who refuses to love them back.
Thanks to NetGalley and Tarriona Ball for an advance copy of this book.
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