10 January 2017

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur | Book Review

I have already praised Rupi Kaur once before on this blog where I wrote about how I admire the open and honest message she shares through her speaking and writing. This was before I even owned her debut poetry collection, Milk and Honey which she initially self published. Milk and Honey was bought for me by my boyfriend for my birthday this year and I am so so pleased he got it for me because it has been something on my list to buy for ages.

This book is definitely one, like marmite, which splits people in a love-hate way. It certainly made me intrigued to find out what all the fuss was about with finding many reviews that liked and disliked the book. Also, I had been looking to own a poetry book for some time to try and broaden my reading and help with my own writing. I really hoped that I would love this book because I had loved the poems I'd found on the internet which she had written so hoped it would all be just as good.

Rupi writes all in lower case, only uses full stops for punctuation, and surrounds her words with simple line drawings drawn by herself. This, alongside the plain black book cover depicting the title, author and two line drawings, displays the simplicity and honesty which seems to be the whole foundation of the collection. The blurb offers up only a taster of what there is to find inside, explaining that this writing is the sum of her life in words with four keys themes of hurt, love, breaking, and healing.

This book took me about four sittings to finish (which for me is very speedy indeed) and I don't even feel like I rushed through it in any way. Reading slowly helped to add to the feel that this book is one of self reflection and empathy, I took in all the simple images and words together and tried hard not to let any poem spill into the next. I did find this particularly difficult because some of the poems are just phrases split across lines in poem form meaning there aren't enough words to delve into and take your time over.

My favourite section was probably the loving because it had so much raw emotion and relatable feelings. The image below shows a poem from this section which is one of my favourite poems in the whole book because of the way it reads and the way I can easily relate to the meaning behind it a lot better than I can for poems about love which seem to be filled with ways to sacrifice or compromise yourself for someone else. I prefer to feel like the person I end up with will complement me and that I will already be a whole complete person and could live without them.

I think this book is a must read for anyone who isn't a poetry critic, because it is unlike most poetry and I believe it serves a different purpose and is meant to be read in a different way. A poetry critic may find many flaws with the way the poetry is written meaning that wouldn't fully get the meanings behind the poetry and why it was written. Rupi comes from a spoken word background and listening to her speak shows you the way her poetry is supposed to sound and how it is a story where she builds the rhythm and time, and the words don't. This, I don't think, is a criticism of her work but simply shows the different background she is from and the unique way she uses words to her advantage.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this poetry collection because it gives an enlightening perspective on growing up as a female now with parts that everyone can relate to in some way. I loved this book and the poems because it put into words many feelings which I struggle to express of have never thought about expressing before. It has shown me ways I want to feel and emotions I would like to avoid and how much faith we need to all individually have in ourselves.

What do you think of Milk and Honey?