Book Reviews

Book Review :: Milk and Honey

Set with vector pattern hand drawn brushesRATING :: 🥛🍯🥛🍯🥛

AUTHOR :: RUPI KAUR

GENRE :: POETRY 

SYNOPSIS :: 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.

REVIEW :: I didn’t know what to expect from this short book at first.

I wasn’t sure if I should expect something un-relatable or maybe too preachy, or maybe even far too eloquent. But since I noticed the insane amount of attention and positive response it was getting, I decided, hey… why not?! Let’s run to the local Barnes & Noble Bookstore!

I’m so happy to share that I don’t regret purchasing this book, and it has to be one of my fav books of this year.

I’ve never read anything like this before, especially since poetry is not my strongest “language,” if that makes any sense to y’all.

The first thing I noticed about the book was the “lack” of punctuation marks and upper case letters. Of course, I was curious and read what the author had to say about her style of writing…

“although i can read and understand my mother tongue (punjabi) i do not have the skillset to write poetry in it. to write punjabi means to use gurmukhi script. and within this script there are no uppercase or lowercase letters. all letters are treated the same. i enjoy how simple that is. how symmetrical and how absolutely straightforward. i also feel there is a level of equality this visuality brings to the work. a visual representation of what i want to see more of within the world: equalness.

and the only punctuation that exists within gurmukhi script is a period. which is represented through the following symbol: |”

Rupi Kaur What did I think about this writing style?

Well given the fact that I haven’t always been great with my punctuation marks in school (and even after school), I fell in love with it. Being a perfectionist who hates messing anything up, I felt that Rupi breaking the rules of writing was freeing for me also.

Being a blogger can be a pain and even more so when you want to leave an impression on your audience with the right marks and eloquent words.

Rupi, however, teaches me that the simplest things can go a long way & have a great impact.

The second thing I noticed was how each message on each page cut right to the heart of the matter.

It had that strong feel of a message being shared from woman to woman; a friend; a person connecting with you [the woman] in a way that ONLY a woman could.

Regardless of our different upbringings, the differences in our cultures, skin color, religion/practice of faith, there was no doubt in my heart that I felt connected to the heart of a woman who has experienced grief, loss, pain, love, insecurity… everything that makes us women.

The third and my most favorite part of the book, as well the most difficult part to read, had to be about the treatment of women, and abuse.

Again, the writing style of Rupi does its work with as few words as possible.

One sentence is enough to speak to the heart of the matter.

As I read her expression of the way women have been taught to be seen, touched, and approached, I just about did twenty cartwheels in my head.

Society by no means has mercy on women. We are taught how to dress, talk, act, look… but the last thing we are taught to do is how to, accept, take care, and love ourselves; how to set boundaries and free ourselves from even our own high expectations.

The cultures we are brought up in and end up embracing teach us in one shape or form how to see ourselves, and this can often lead to disappointment, frustration, and rebellion when we don’t challenge what we’ve been taught.

Growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional environment, reading the chapter on Healing spoke to me in a profound way.

It showed me how far I’ve come in terms of healing and growing, and also what I have yet to release and heal from.

Fourth, there’s no doubt that this book speaks to and addresses one of the enemies of a woman’s heart- insecurity.

Society and traditions teach us to stay ahead of the game, to do whatever it takes to be #1 at everything and to look down at the person who is succeeding.

Women fight against women; we are taught to compete for a man’s attention, a job position, and even beauty.

If we don’t have what the other women have, we look down on ourselves. We feel worthless and ashamed.

If we have what the others want, we compare and look down on them. We delight in feeling better than others more times than we care to admit.

Beauty is something we try to reach more often than anything.

We do forget to realize that we are not just pretty faces and hot bodies, but human beings capable of much more. We’re strong, courageous, and created to create, to be powerful, and to do the impossible.

Rupi not only affirms the strength and courage of women, but reminds the reader of the importance of celebrating one another.

That. Is. Just. Beautiful.

Five :: I know one of the most difficult things for me to do is accept myself for who I am… and embrace it too.

The message of self-love and self-care is pretty clear throughout Milk & Honey.

Through painful experiences and choices/mistakes, one learns what does and doesn’t work. One thing I know I can say now that I couldn’t years ago was how I had to learn to like and love myself before I expected others to do so.

There was A LOT of trial and [miserable] error throughout the process, but understanding the importance of being okay by myself before allowing someone [like my husband] in my life, is a journey I’m glad I was able to start and continue with God.

My sixth and final observance of Milk & Honey was the drawings…

Sure.

It’s nothing impressive.

I’ve seen more complex drawings that make Rupi’s look like beginner’s art work… but my God!!

Her drawings spoke to me!

Again… simple… yet POWERFUL.

A woman with branches and flowers growing out of her.

A woman sitting on the floor, knees bent, legs close to the chest, and her face buried in her arms that are resting on her knees.

A pregnant woman with a visible view of the baby that’s growing inside of her.

Who would have guessed that such simple art work could be so inspiring?

I have many favorites but the one that spoke so deeply to me was the figure of a woman’s body, legs spread apart with a poem between her legs. The message is clear- a woman’s body is taught to be seen only as something that gives pleasure, nothing more.

Being a survivor of abuse and assault, all these images and short but powerful words that offered affirmation, encouragement, and strength challenged me to see myself in a new light.

Not by how men AND women have perceived me; not by how some of them have treated me… but by how God has always seen me- A masterpiece, complete with personality, perseverance, courage, strength, beauty, and talents.

I recommend that every young woman take the time to read this, even if it’s just one chapter.

…………………….

Have you read Milk & Honey?

If so, what did you get out of it? How did it speak directly to you?

Thank you for reading!

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