Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Rupi Kaur: Milk and Honey | Book Review

Despite finding a slight love for Poetry throughout my English A Level, I never thought that I would be the person to not only purchase a poetry book but to complete the book, and come out the other side in floods of tears. This book talks heavily about abuse, so please read both the book and this review with caution.

This book is split into four different sections; the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing and I can't remember which point brought tears to my eyes but I am almost certain that it was in the first section, the hurting. It has been a very long time since I actually sobbed to a book but this one got me right in the feels, it is so raw, so honest, so emotive and just so sad, I cried reading this book so I couldn't even imagine how many times Kaur must have shed a tear or even a sobbed throughout the production of writing this book. One thing that I do know, is that it takes courage, strength and so much bravery to write so openly and this book is so powerful, it is wonderful but please, get the tissues ready.

Before I get into the sections of this book, I wanted to quickly address how much I love how Kaur has included illustrations alongside her words, I sometimes feel that drawings can be just as meaningful as words and it has definitely shown throughout this novel, they may be simple illustrations, but when put beside these words, the whole perspective changes.

The Hurting

This section was powerful and I don't think that my brain was quite ready for it, I don't think it could have ever been prepared enough to read the words that came on the following pages, the reality of some individuals who are living with constant memories of abuse and how it felt to be abused, how much it changed everything and how it can quickly become normality. I absolute adore how in this section completely, the pages were pretty bare, with minimal words and tiny sentences but that didn't take the importance away, I think it may have even increased it, I was so overwhelmed by how incredibly talented Kaur is, it takes time and a lot of hard word to be able to express such an eye opening story using so little words, but she pulled it off perfectly, which could be the very reason that I adore this book so much. A different aspect of this book, that I particularly like about this section is that nothing is toned down, which has it pros and cons and perhaps even means that it isn't suitable for readers who have suffered abuse themselves, she doesn't sugarcoat anything, she tells the story as it is, and not how people expect to hear it.

"you have sadness
living in places
sadness shouldn't live"

The Loving

It is within this section of the novel that I really began to understand how trapped it can feel to be stuck in the cycle of abuse, especially when you love the person abusing you and you put everything you have into loving them and pleasing them. This section is quite bittersweet as we are all aware that he is no good for her, but we can't just scream at her, telling her that she needs to leave as he is no good for her because she loves him and sometimes, the good outweigh the bad, no matter how bad it may be. This part of the book definitely had a lot more words and even more description, it was full of the highs and the lows and how naive you can become when you fall head over heels in love, for the wrong person and for the wrong reasons. It put a lump in my throat, knowing that this girl couldn't see her own worth and experienced all of this trauma.

"you may not have been my first love
but you were the love that made
all the other loves

The Breaking

This was the part that really broke my heart, we learn about her mothers option as well as her own but how can you really understand any of it, if you've never been there yourself? It really shows how in denial she was about the entire situation which is completely understandable yet sad at the same time however, it is in the section that she really begins to know her worth, "don't mistake salt for sugar, if he wants to be with you, he will, it's that simple." Having said that, of course that doesn't make it any easier, her heart is breaking all over again and she is questioning whether she wants to continue living this way or if she'd rather walk away, neither path is easy and both are going to break her. It is in this section where we learn how she has been both the abused and the abuser, but that doesn't stop her emotions feeling intense. Towards the end of this chapter, the sentences got longer, which only made my sobs worse, but it was so cleverly and beautifully written, that I couldn't even be mad.

"you were so distant
i forgot you were there at all"

The Healing

Thankfully, this book did have a more positive ending in comparison to the previous chapters, and is full of wise words of advice and inspiration to everyone who may be in, or have experienced an abusive relationship and I was so thankful that the novel ended this way because despite the beginning being rather negative and dwelling, the ending is so positive and leaves readers full of hope, instead of dwelling on the negative parts that maybe they could relate to and it just goes to show that although it may feel like the end of the world; it isn't and as soon as you find the courage to leave, better days are only around the corner.

"do not look for healing
at the feet of those
who broke you"

Overall, I really hope that I did this book justice but at the end of the day, you can hear an entire tonne of reviews from people around you, but you won't get the full effect unless you read it yourself so unless you are in a negative place yourself, please give this book a read, it'll change your perspective on so many things and might even change your life. It is hands down one of the best pieces of writing that I have ever read and I am sure that I will read it time and time again. Finally, I love the fact that Kaur incorporated poetry with art as I think it gives a really lovely personal touch.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x


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