By Abby James
rupi kaur’s journey through a life of struggle, hard work and life is beautifully annotated in her New York Times bestseller: “milk and honey.” The poems living inside the pages of this collection of poetry assist their readers who may be struggling or coming to terms with many different aspects of life.
During adolescence, many young adults begin to feel overwhelmed with the ambivalence of the feelings they experience on a day-to-day basis. Like many developing adults are instructed to do, kaur found a way to cope with her emotions, thus creating a beautiful desire to make life a little more glorious.
In an interview with Huffington Post Digital Marketer, author rupi kaur said, “I have this terrible habit of feeling too much and I want to express these feelings in the written form. I want to put words to feelings we have trouble putting into words. Like the breath before the kiss, I want to make the mundane beautiful.”
As a young female who has read kaur’s book, I have personally experienced her work in making monotonous life seem joyful and extravagant. In this book, kaur addresses some very mature topics such as violence, abuse, love and loss. However, throughout the four chapters in the text (“the hurting,” “the loving,” “the breaking” and “the healing”), kaur does not focus on the difficulties these issues bring upon their victims. The issues are addressed, but the main idea in the poems focus on learning from experiences and growing from them. For example, in the poetry collection, a stanza reads: “i didn’t leave because/i stopped loving you/i left because the longer/i stayed the less/i loved myself.” This poem addresses the importance of leaving unhealthy relationships. Students at the high school level need to be exposed to ideas like this; because some young adults stay in relationships that may not be the best for them because they feel as if they are too in love with their significant other to leave them. Too often, people suppress their own wants and needs for those of their loved ones. I think this is very important for the reader, especially if they have been affected by the topic being discussed. Too often people focus on being a victim to society’s wrath that they never begin the healing process. These poems allow one to view what the healing process looks like, which gives them a general idea of where to start.
Like the young adults that can relate to this book, David Nilsen, editor and lead critic at Fourth & Sycamore, writes that women struggling with the battles life has thrown at them can also connect to kaur’s poems.
“Kaur writes online and in ‘Milk and Honey’ primarily about different aspects of being a woman in a society that hasn’t made nearly as many advances in equality as it thinks it has, and many of her poems (and their accompanying art) have become anthems of sorts for young women sick of being shamed for their bodies, their desires, in some cases their own assaults,” Nilsen said.
While I was reading this book, I realized that I had dealt with many of the issues that were being discussed. This shows that kaur is able to write in order to connect to a larger audience about serious topics, which is something kaur deserves very high praise for.
However, I think the men and women reviewing this poetry collection have forgotten a key aspect to everyday life. Men and women experience body shame and assault. I think they should take it into consideration that both men and women from all different age groups could also benefit from the content this text embodies.
“milk and honey’s” author rupi kaur does a beautiful job of creating a book that people can connect to, but the people who have reviewed this fail to realize that each gender can experience the struggles society throws upon them in similar ways. For people hoping to learn to accept the things that happen in the world, grow from their own struggles or simply just enjoy beautifully written poetry, “milk and honey” exceeds all standards while the reviewers of the book hardly, if at all, meet theirs.