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What: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

Who: Andrews McMeel Publishing

When: December 1st 2015

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Hardie Grant Publishing for review.

Milk and Honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.

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.

I had heard a lot of incredible things about Milk and Honey before I read it. So much so that I was almost afraid to pick it up because I expected it to be amongst the most profound poetry I had ever read.

I think it is safe to say that Milk and Honey does live up to the hype it’s received, or at least it did for me. It was beautiful and emotional. And it was certainly profound. Incredibly profound, really, because these poems are not fictional – rather, they tell the story of Rupi Kaur’s life in four parts.

I could not say that one of the four chapters was more than any of the others because they were all incredible in their own way. My favourite two chapters would probably have to be the loving and the healing. Even though I greatly related to the breaking, and aspects of the hurting, as well. I think there are elements to all four chapters that almost anyone who picked the book up could relate to. There are so many universal themes contained in such a small book that it’s quite incredible.

The addition of the illustrations added an extra layer to the poems themselves, I believe. I am more than happy to read poetry as just words, but since Kaur created the illustrations herself to accompany the pieces I feel like there was an extra layer of understanding to them. I always find it special when a creator mixes two mediums in such a way that they complement each other seamlessly.

There is something about Milk and Honey that doesn’t necessarily read like poetry, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think it makes the book more accessible to everyone because there can be some stigma surrounding poetry (for example: it’s pretentious). There are pieces in Milk and Honey that are more like sentences broken up, but to be honest I think that sometimes poetry is all about the lines so I didn’t find anything particularly wrong with the pieces that relied on breaks to fully convey the emotion behind the words. Sometimes the weight of one word in a piece is what makes it work.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Milk and Honey. I was absorbed from the moment I started reading it, and I read it in one sitting because there was no tearing me away. If you’re looking for a gorgeous poetry book that takes you through the hard times and the soft, and that leaves you with a sense of hope at the end then I recommend Milk and Honey to you.

(I will note, however, that there were some themes along the lines of ‘love is what makes us human’, which could be harmful to aromantic readers.)

© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warningsincest, pedophilia, rape, sexual abuse (from family members), use of ableist language, sexism, alcoholic parent, absent father, emotional abuse, and racism in this novel

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Posted on: July 7, 2017 • By: Chiara

19 Responses to Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

  1. shooting says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I have this one but I haven’t read it yet. I really need to grab it; I think it would make a nice pool read, especially with the heavier poems.


  2. Sarah says:

    Wonderful review ❤️😊 I just bought Milk and Honey the other day and am soooooo looking forward to reading it.

  3. Hannah says:

    I adored Milk and Honey. As you mention the illustrations really added more depth to the poems and I really liked the free flowing nature of them. Without the strict capitalization of letters or form. I could relate to some of the poems and that left my feeling empowered. This is the book that got me into trying more modern poetry and one I cannot stop recommending to my friends.
    I hope she writes another!

    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Hannah! And I totally agree with you about the illustrations and the varying forms of the poems themselves. I loved them. I’m glad this one got you into poetry, and that you’re recommending it! It’s definitely a special one.

      You probably know this by now, but Kaur did release a second collection, The Sun and Her Flowers, which I thought was just beautiful.

  4. Jackie B. says:

    Great review! I’ve read probably half a dozen reviews of this poetry book and you’re the first one to mention illustrations, Chiara! That seems like a huge oversight on the previous reviews I’ve read, certainly. What sort of things did the illustrations portray?

    • Chiara says:

      Thank you, Jackie! Oh wow, that is quite surprising. I absolutely loved the illustrations so I couldn’t not mention them! A lot of them were to do with the poems, so from memory I remember there being a lot of women’s bodies. I remember there being others like the earth and a house, as well!

  5. verushka says:

    This is such a wonderfulbook — I’ve only read good reviews of it

  6. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, lovely! It definitely wasn’t for me, unfortunately, despite all the beautiful reviews, but it’s always so good to hear that more people are getting into & learning how to love poetry. I’m so grateful that Kaur & her peers are making it a more accessible medium to so many people who never thought they could learn how to understand it – that’s something I know a great many poets have always wished for. <3

    • Chiara says:

      Aw, I’m sorry this one was a miss for you, lovely :( I’m the same with another popular poet’s work. SO I totally get what you mean about appreciating them as a poet but not necessarily being a fan of their work. I’m glad poetry is “coming back” after so many people said it was dead.

  7. Great review, Chiara! I loved this book so so so much, I adore Rupi Kaur and it was lovely to meet her in person earlier this year. :) I really related to a lot of what she had written about, it just about knocked the air out of me at some times by how accurate and raw her poetry was (at times). I can’t wait for her second poetry book to come out!

    • Chiara says:

      Thank you, Cass! I think it would have been wonderful to meet Rupi Kaur and I must say I’m a little jealous of you right now, haha. It’s amazing that you were able to relate so much to her words <3 I hope you liked The Sun and Her Flowers! I think I liked it even more than Milk and Honey :)

  8. I really adore the title of this book, and can’t stop repeating it in my head. It seems to roll off the tongue smoothly, and I get this sense of warmth from saying it over and over again. Milk and honey, what a loveable combo.

    I’m not a poetry person, but I’m intrigued by this book. It sounds absolutely raw and eye-opening, especially after reading the trigger warnings on the bottom of your review. I do love the idea of author drawn imagery to complement the story — the combination of the two mediums is really what’s drawing me to this book, and I think would be of interest to most non-poetry readers as well.

    Colour me curious, I’m definitely going to add this to my TBR and give it a go. x

    • Chiara says:

      I really love the title of this one, as well! It was always on my mind, even before I decided to give it a go. It’s very lovely.

      I’m glad you’re intrigued! I was daunted by the hype surrounding this one, but I think it lived up to it pretty well. I absolutely loved the inclusion of the illustrations, I think it added even more impact to a very impactful book.

      Ah, I hope you like it, Joy!

  9. Georgiana says:

    Lovely review and I am glad you liked it. Sadly, for me, this was one of the most disappointing books of 2017. It was not bad by any means, but I just don`t think it lived up to the hype.

    • Chiara says:

      Thank you so much! Reading poetry is a super personal thing, so I think hype doesn’t always do poetry justice. I’m sorry this one didn’t work out for you!

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