A friend of mine said she read this and really liked milk and honey. I was intrigued by the concept: kinda poetry, kinda narrative about love, loss and healing. So when I saw it at the bookstore, I picked it up.
The book is in four sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing. It was as my friend described, poetry mostly, with some drawings and some narrative pieces. The pieces are fairly short, some just a few lines.
As the kids today say, it gave me all the feels. Some pieces made me uncomfortable, some made me cry and others made me hopeful.
This one really got me, because it’s how I feel about BJ:
you might not have been my first love
but you were the love that made
all the other loves
– p. 63
I could spend the entire post quoting the lines and the pieces I liked. But that’s probably not helpful or interesting.
Here is what I will say, if you are squeamish about sex this might not be the book for you.
I think that Rupi captures the essence of relationships, and specifically being a woman in a relationship. How do you define yourself within a couple? Why do we (as women) stay in relationships that don’t work for us? I feel like she was able to get at the heart of some of the truths that we have. It definitely spoke to me, and I think that’s what all good art should do.
I did read the book (and write most of this post) prior to seeing Rupi live at an author event, which I blogged about here. If you have a chance to see her read in person: GO! Do not hesitate. She is a delight.
The value of art, and why it is so important, is that it gives us a perspective of the world that is outside ourselves. As much as we might try to see things from other vantage points, it’s impossible, our only point of reference is through our own eyes (and minds). Poems capture emotions and try to make you feel something. They aren’t there to tell a story as much as to elicit a response. Also, poetry seems, I think today, to be ‘old fashioned’. Modern poets are more often musicians (Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Kendrick Lamar).
The current climate, especially around women’s issues, the fight for equality, and calling out inappropriate misogynistic behaviour, is why Rupi’s voice and message has resonated so much, I think. (New York Times best seller!) Her words are a comfort and an inspiration in a time where it is really difficult to find hope.