January 8, 2018

Book Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

#1 New York Times bestseller Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. 

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. Milk and Honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. 

 To be honest, I think I've come across countless parodies of this book of poems before I ever decided to pick up the book itself. Mind you, I did have to clear my mind of any expectations and just be open to whatever lay between the covers. The poems are divided into four sections: "the hurting", "the loving", "the breaking" and "the healing." Female empowerment is the overarching theme. How parents uplift or scar their daughters, how partners can wound the feminine psyche. Multiple poems address violations and humiliations of the female body (you point to the spot/ between its legs the one/ he fingered out of you/ like a confession). Most of the poems are short and simple, some are accompanied by a sketch. 

Kaur has a gift - some of her poems were like punches to the gut, raw and unnerving. She has a bit of Plath and Sexton in her confessional style. However, many of the poems read as brief diary journals, written in the heated moment of anger or pain after a break-up. As I was reading the Kindle version, it was interesting to see the most highlighted poems. If I had to guess, I would say that Milk and Honey probably resonates the most with teenagers and twenty-somethings. A tome to be read and re-read in the height of a love affair and in the aftermath its break, especially if one were seeking positive affirmations. As for me, once was enough, an exercise in curiosity rather than something that spoke to the deepest recesses of my heart and soul.

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