I added this book to my ‘on the fence’ list when I started up this blog, yet I forgot to rate on Goodreads. I gave it 4 star rating, but that was because they don’t give you the option of giving out half-stars; so technically I would’ve given it 3. 5 stars. On this blog, I don’t think I want to do star ratings when reviewing texts since I already do on Goodreads, but rather, I just want to talk about them and share my thoughts.
So, what are my thoughts on this book? Why am I on the fence with this one?
If you aren’t familiar with this book, Milk and Honey is a collection of poems written by the Canadian poet Rupi Kaur. It’s well favoured by a certain, popular book site, with an average rating on 4.27 stars, and is a New York Times Bestseller. The poems are grouped based on the themes: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking, and The Healing. The poems are accompanied by illustrations drawn by the author herself.
Firstly, I’d like to talk about Kaur’s form of poetry. The poems are written in free verse, with minimum use of punctuation and grammar. Another feature that’s frequent in the poems are enjambments, for instance:
is usually divided
into several lines
without being end-stopped
There are are also some clever uses of metaphors, similes, and imagery in the poems.
Secondly, the there are four central themes to Milk and Honey. The Hurting is a collection of poems regarding assault, trauma, abandonment, and mistreatment by others. The Loving deals with different kinds of love, such as familial love, erotic love, and self-love. The Hurting is about when things fall apart; good things coming to an end. The Healing focuses on getting yourself back on your feet after being hurt.
Well, here’s part where I explain why I’m on the fence with this one. Now, poems are forms of expressions, and these forms of expressions usually invoke feelings from the reader. These poems did invoke feelings from me, particularly ones from The Loving and The Healing. If you haven’t guessed already, I’m probably one the biggest hopeless romantics you’ll ever come across, and just some of those poems really got to me! Additionally, I felt some sort of uneasiness from The Hurting. Maybe because I never felt the experiences that these poems depict, and some of these poems could could be quite triggering for some (for instance, a fair few poems deal with rape and sexual assault).
Also, I feel that while many can relate to a lot of the poems in the novel, I wouldn’t exactly say they’re… stellar? I mean, I’m probably being too harsh. They get to me when I read the poems on the page, yet they don’t stay in my mind after reading them. I forget them quite easily once I put the book down. Even now, I can’t even recall one poem from that book, whereas I can memorize lines from more complex poems because they are memorable.
I don’t know, perhaps the reason why I’m on the fence with Milk and Honey is because I’m conflicted. The poems are full of deep sentiments, but they don’t exactly make much of an impact in my life and ways of thinking. Like I mentioned before, a lot of the poems comprise of just one sentence that have been divided by enjambments. I know that free verse is literally free–you’re free to do whatever you want with the poem, but in my opinion, devices such as end-stops and proper punctuation can make a poem much more powerful and to the point. I might be an old school romantic (idk, or I’m to old for this sh*t).
To wrap it all up, there are things that I like about Milk and Honey such as imagery and the illustrations. What I didn’t really like was the frequent enjambments and the poems being… well, underwhelming. Milk and Honey was in the Classics bookshelf of the bookshop in my city, and I can’t help but scratch my head as to why they’d put it alongside Homer, Keats, Plath, and all the rest of the authors that are categorized in the Classics section, whereas other contemporary poets (just as good, if not better) are elsewhere (I mean, they even put Emily Dickinson and Lord Byron in the References section of the shop! What?!)
So I just went in and lowered my rating on Goodreads down to three stars, now that I’ve collected my thoughts properly. It may be that it’s over-hyped and overrated in my honest opinion, but I still did like some of the poems in it. Don’t get me wrong; Kaur is an artist and is very smart, and I applaud her for being a successful person (and at such a young age too). Nevertheless, many others adore her and her work. I’m sure some of you here would adore it too! Feel free to tell me your thoughts.
anyway it’s friday in australia
and i think
i might have a cold one
to start the weekend off.
I’ll see you in the next post!