Review: Rupi Kaur’s milk and honey

Title: milk and honey milk and honey
Rupi Kaur    
Publication Date: November 4th, 2014
Andrews McMeel


I’ve been talking about milk and honey for forever. I saw a couple of her poems posted on Tumblr and I was hooked. I finally got the collection of poetry and prose, written by Rupi Kaur, the other week for my birthday. And let me just tell you, it was everything I imagined and more.

It is a collection about survival,  split into four sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. Within the sections Kaur explores topics such as violence, abuse, love, loss, heartbreak, femininity, and healing. Her writing is often accompanied by her own black and white sketch drawings that only further drive home her words.

I’m not a poetry person. I always skip over poems when they’re assigned as readings for my lit classes. But Kaur’s poems and prose just hit so close to home that I can’t help but love them. And her writing style is very conversational, making it an easy read for someone who isn’t too keen on Shakespearean sonnets and iambic pentameter.

Kaur disregards conventions, and very rarely punctuates her work—periods are usually only found in her longer works of prose. The book is also written in exclusively lowercase letters, even “I.” It didn’t really bother me. I think it works since everything about the book is very minimalistic and simple.

“The hurting” is the shortest section of the book. And as the title suggests, it’s about being hurt. A lot of the poems in this section reference some form of abuse by men, whether it be rape, or just being taught that as a girl you are less. This section also talks a lot about family dynamic and there are a handful of poems about fathers.

I found it very relatable as a woman, and the section left me both sad and disturbed.

Next comes “the loving.” The section is very sensual and gives off the feeling of being completely enamored with another human. In multiple poems Kaur relates language and sound to love and attraction, and she does it so beautifully that reading the poem just gives you this feeling of tenderness. The last piece of prose in “the loving” is where we really see the relationship start to fall apart, this continues into “the breaking.”

“The breaking” is the longest section of the book, which maybe says something about heartbreak. Kaur explores the feelings of heartbreak, hurt, and emptiness in this section. A lot of the poems are about remembering and longing. The poems are painful and really left me in this emotional and very loaded silence.

And after “the breaking” comes “the healing.” It’s really just about accepting what happened to you and moving past it—about being happy again and learning that you are enough. A lot of these poems kind of knocked me down a peg and just reinforced that everything I’m so upset, worried, and stressed about are trivial in the end—that I am enough and I have every reason out there to be happy with myself and life. This section is going to be my go-to whenever I need a little lift or some motivation.

Due to the references to sex and some of the more graphic drawings I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to anyone too young. You can find Kaur on her website and milk and honey is for sale on Amazon.

Give it a read and let me know what you think in the comments!

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Hi! I'm Lindsey, a 20-something book lover living in the Boston area. I have an affinity for YA fiction and and a serious SVU addiction. Hit me up with a book recommendation and it might just become my next obsession. I'm glad to have you on the site and hope you enjoy my future posts.

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