Book Review: “Milk and Honey”

“Milk and Honey” is just the transition Rupi Kaur needed to go from “Instagram poet” to one of the elite poets of her generation. Filled with profound and thought-provoking words, “Milk and Honey” follows the journey that each and every person can relate to in one way or another. 

This collection of elegant, yet harshly written poems is split into four sections, taking the reader through the process of heartbreak: the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. The breaking is the longest section, taking up 66 of the 204 pages. 

Kaur’s hand-drawn images appear on every other page, which makes the collection feel more personal and relatable. Not all the poems are titled. In fact, most of them aren’t. But some have been signed by their title at the end of the page as if the poem was a letter written to the reader. I found it interesting that Kaur decided to do this but it actually worked quite well. It allowed for one more piece of her story after the ending had already come. 

Although seen as somewhat controversial by some of her audience, Kaur’s boldness and honesty are what make this collection so effective. Without her signature edge and sarcasm, the timeliness and desperation of her work would be lost. Kaur talks about things that no one else wants to talk about, and that can get her into a lot of trouble. She explores topics that are often hidden or forced underground such as rape, abuse, mental health and heartbreak, empowering young readers and showing them that they too have a voice. She does this by including excerpts such as “other women’s bodies are not our battlegrounds” as well as “…you are resilient or you are extraordinary.” 

Reading “Milk and Honey” made me feel a lot less alone in my struggles and challenged me to think about my experiences in a whole new way. This collection went beyond the surface level small talk and allowed me to understand the feelings and stories of Kaur in a way that made it seem as if the poems were written specifically for my ears. 

Kaur’s style of writing is uniquely her. She does not hold back and she allows the free verse style to take her words in whichever way it pleases her. I prefer this kind of poetry to other styles such as cinquains or haiku because I as a reader can analyze the poem and take it to new places in my mind; it feels much freer. 

If you are looking for a fast-paced, unapologetically gut-wrenching and powerful read, “Milk and Honey” is an unforgettable revelation. 

 

           

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