‘The cover image of ‘milk and honey’ had been sporadically showing up in my Instagram feed for the last couple months. It was simple yet intriguing. All black with stark white lower case lettering. The illustration was a pair of bees.
Though I have not read much poetry lately, I knew I wanted to explore this book after viewing a few excerpts. The reviews on good reads were mixed and I often get swayed into not picking up a book, if it has mixed reviews. But milk and honey, had gained immense popularity, reaching #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list and had sold well over a million copies.
Milk and Honey, a book of poetry and prose, is divided into 4 chapters that capture the feelings of the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing.
The poems are easy to read, and seem more like personal thoughts, along the lines of ‘confessional poetry’. They are raw, heartfelt, and often dark. In the hurting chapter, Rupi Kaur writes about sexual abuse, rape, and the pain caused by an absent father. This was probably the most difficult chapter to read in the book as it was very explicit.
The other chapters explore feelings of love, loss and heartbreak from relationships the author has experienced. Kaur beautifully captures these moments and she expresses them with intense truth and emotion. There is no vagueness in her writing. All through the book, there are free hand illustrations by the author herself, that capture the essence of the poems.
The healing chapter was probably the most uplifting as you journey through the author’s life, you realize the resilience and strength of women everywhere. The understanding that a woman’s happiness comes from herself. They are rooted in her accomplishments, her courage and honestly with herself.
The mixed reviews stemmed from the fact, that the poems in the book, are written in lower case, with no punctuation, except for the period. Also, many felt, that they could have written something similar, because in essence, it is a person’s thoughts and it does not read like traditional poetry.
After reading this book, I felt it evoked a sense of truth and sadness. It was by no means, an easy read, because of the turmoil of emotions one feels as they read through the chapters. But reading Milk and Honey is almost cathartic as some of the feelings would have resonated with you on some level.