This poetry collection by Rupi Kaur is so beautiful to lay eyes on, physically. Yet, as I started reading Milk and Honey, I had a strange feeling that I was not going to like it at all. There was a tirade going on in my head that was yelling at me to walk away from this “trainwreck” as soon as possible. But I knew it wasn’t fair to the author. So I decided to reserve my final judgment for when I turned the last page.
Just a few pages in and I realized that a major part of me – the one that brought me into the book with the thought that I wouldn’t like what’s in there – was wrong. The writing is surprisingly good. It stands out because of the truths that it states page after page. Or in the beauty of the words written across the pages. There are minimalistic illustrations, too. And they are relevant to the topics at hand.
The thing about Milk and Honey is that unless you see it not as a poetry collection but as a collection of simple yet beautiful writings, you will not like it. Don’t read the book as a book of poetry, but as a little handbook of truths, and Milk and Honey won’t disappoint you. If you do go into it hoping for poetry, be prepared for crushing disappointment. But maybe this is the latest brand of poetry to be doing the rounds and becoming popular.
The reason why I give this disclaimer is that I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for this book, some of them dissing it pretty bad. They say that ‘putting a line break in normal sentences cannot be called poetry.’ But then again, I ask, it is called poetry, but you can interpret it your own way, right? That is the whole point of books and opinions in the first place, isn’t it?
Some writings are downright R-rated to the point where I cringed at them, trying very hard to keep my mind open. Those are few and far between. Some others are just plain, not deserving of a dedicated page in a book. But the rest of the writing is beautiful enough to make up for these shortcomings (according to me).
I don’t think Milk and Honey is a masterpiece. Definitely not. And I agree that it is overhyped. But I don’t agree with the opinion that this book doesn’t deserve to exist. I’m glad it exists because some of the paragraphs or writings – I don’t know what to call them – are too beautiful to have remained in the drafts of the Instagram celebrity called Rupi Kaur. If you look at the ratings of Milk and Honey on Goodreads, they are quite encouraging. But look at the reviews, especially the negative ones, and they literally rip this book apart. Which I think is really unfair.
So I reiterate this point again: Read this book for yourself and then form an opinion, which should always be the case, but more so here.
Also, a tip. Again. Don’t go into it with the expectations of Whitman-esque poetry and you won’t be disappointed.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
Picture Courtesy: Amazon India.
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