Book Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Here’s my take on Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

Front Cover - Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

BLURB

‘Milk and honey’ is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split 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. 

REVIEW

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur is a poetry book containing poems related on the themes of hurt, love, break, and heal. The book contains poems and proses revolving around these themes and their similarities. 

The cover of the book is minimal – a black background and the title written in white above a pair of bees. More than the cover of the book it was the title of the book that’s intriguing. Like why Milk and Honey?

Rupi Kaur has chosen freestyle writing to write the poems in the book. The vocabulary used in the book is simple, a quality that makes the book an easy read for a lot of readers.

Rupi Kaur portrays raw and real emotions in her poems, which I instantly became a fan of. She has not tried to sugar-coat things in most of the places.

‘every time you
tell your daughter
you yell at her
out of love
you teach her to confuse
anger with kindness
which seems like a good idea
till she grows up to
trust men who hurt her
cause they look so much
like you’

Mockup - Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur, through her poems, tries to tell you the reality of today’s world: how women are oppressed, degraded, and used by people all the time – be it anyone in the society. It is a good approach towards feminism.

‘The kindest words my father said to me
Women like you drown oceans.’

Some of the proses in the book are inspiring and fill you up with energy and motivation.

I would like to give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

Coming to the poems in Milk and Honey, they lacked rhythm. To me most of the poems felt paled and more like stories or a narration rather that poetry which has a certain rhythm.

Dividing the book in four chapters was a good idea but when I observe now I find that all the four themes have more or less same type of poems.

Personal Opinion: I was expecting more poems on women empowerment and strong ideals. For me the poems are not so relatable.  Rupi Kaur could have explored a wider range on topics. Or maybe she had wider range of topics but she chose a few from them.

‘she will then try to make love to your body. but she will never lick, caress, or suck like me. she will be a sad replacement of the woman you let slip. nothing she does will excite you and this will break her.’

Personal Opinion (continued): In the end all the poems had a similar impact, even though there are written with little or no change of narration. Rupi Kaur is straightforward about what she wants to convey but somewhere it comes out a bit too direct. Maybe she could have used euphemisms to keep things subtle in the poem. Certain poems are repetitive, which made reading less enjoyable because I could predict the theme/concept. The book lacks a suspense element which set a major drawback for me.

‘lay me open like a map. and with your finger trace the places you still want to **** out of me. kiss me like i am the center point of gravity and you are falling into me like my soul is the focal point of yours. and when your mouth is kissing not my mouth but other places. my legs will split apart out of habit. and that’s when. i pull you in. welcome you. home.’

CONCLUSION

I picked up Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur because I heard a lot about it and what could be a better read than poetry based on women empowerment. The beginning of the book was impressive and I really enjoyed some of the poems but most of them were a quick read for me and did not leave me with an everlasting feeling. I found this book a one-time read.

Ending the review with some lines I liked from the book.

“you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out i was not made with a lightness on my tongue
so i could be easy to swallow
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget and
not easy for the mind to follow”

Have you read the book? What do you feel about it? Do let me know in the comments below.

Thank you and regards,

Kashish Agrawal

Also read: Book Review of Blood and Beloved – India’s first Gothic Poetry collection

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