This image really says it all: this book was absolutely amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I had to break out my page markers and go a little crazy to make sure that I could easily find my favorite pages. As you can see, there were quite a few noteworthy passages…
milk and honey is a story written in poetry which is broken down into four sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. The book explores concepts which some might consider to be ‘taboo’ such as sexual abuse, rape, familial issues, and domestic abuse. Despite the fact that the book delves into issues which traditionally connote trauma and suffering, I perceived the overall message of the book to be empowering and inspiring in the sense that it begins in a place of pain and suffering but ends in a place of healing and strength. I really liked this about the book because it emphasizes the fact that healing is possible even in the face of terrible pain and adversity. Overall, I would say that the key message in this book is one of profound hope. If you don’t believe me, check out the passage on page 168.
While the book can be read fairly quickly (I would say 1-2 hours depending on how quickly you read) I found myself reading certain pages over and over and over again because the meaning was just so overwhelmingly insightful. For example, the following excerpt can be found on page 19 of the book and is just one example of the breathtaking and deeply moving poetry works:
“every time you
tell your daughter
you yell at her
out of love
you teach her to confuse
anger with kindness
which seems like a good idea
till she grows up to
trust men who hurt her
cause they look so much
~to fathers with daughters, milk and honey by Rupi Kaur
This passage was the very first one that I flagged with a page marker because it stood out to me so definitively. The truth of this poem really speaks to me. So often parents tell their children that they are angry because they care about them and while I can appreciate that this may be the case, I also believe that the underlying message being spoken is one which confuses anger with love, the results of which could be devastating to a child’s developing mind.
I first came across this book a few months ago when a colleague shared a photo of the book on her Instagram account. The title caught my attention so I looked it up on Goodreads and later ordered it from Chapters. Personally, I love books which are written in verse and I especially love books that deal with issues relating to mental health. This book combines these two interests into one beautifully intellectual masterpiece.
In addition to the beautiful poems, the book also features various illustrations which help with the visualization of the story. In my experience of the book, I found the language to be easy to understand so I didn’t really have any trouble following the story; however, some people have a bit of trouble interpreting poetry so the images could be helpful for enhancing readers’ understanding of the poems.
In all honesty, I would recommend this book to anyone who is over the age of sixteen. It is beautifully written and I think the messages in this book are important on an individual level, but also on a societal level. With that being said, I would caution anyone who has experienced rape or abuse of some kind or another to be aware of the potential for this book to trigger negative emotions or traumatic memories. Part of the reason why I found this book to be so profound and meaningful is due to the raw pain which is expressed in many of the passages. As a result, if you have experienced trauma, this book could potentially cause you significantly more distress than it would cause a reader who has no personal traumatic history. Therefore, if you have experienced trauma at some point in your life, please exercise caution while reading this book and be aware of your own boundaries for what you can and cannot tolerate.
Trigger warnings aside, I think this book is a literary masterpiece and I would encourage you to check it out! Let me know what you think in the comments below if you have read it or plan to read it in the future!
Thanks for reading!