Some black, some white, each page is adorned with the words and sketches of Rupi Kaur. Over four chapters, we read about “the hurting, the loving, the breaking, the healing.”
It takes about an hour to read, but Milk and Honey is a strikingly rich book. Its simplicity gives it gravity: every poem, every word, is heartfelt and genuine, an artistic wonderwall. Kaur already captivated an audience on Instagram with her clean-cut style, where short and sweet poems captured double-taps galore.
Kaur doesn’t write so much about her story and its details, which could easily become a sob story in itself. Instead, she writes about violence, abuse, demons inside and out. She writes more feelings – pure joy, infatuation of love and heartbreak and its irresistible sweetness, which gives rise to a revelation three chapters in. Everywhere is a clear appreciation for love and life, and the capacity to feel.
There’s a unique symmetry, an ease with which Kaur weaves words. Her art reflects the same smooth skill, drawn in simple black pen. Under her poems, some sketches are tight and constrained, others free-form. The literal art and choice of a simple typeface allow the short, succinct poems to flow, fresh and original. Her choice of a title, Milk and Honey, covered in black and white, is also apt.
And it’s not just love, which the thick, sticky milk and honey suggests: the novella is about men and women, female love, self-love, and pure inner beauty. While not in a blatantly political way, Kaur ties the unique to the universal. Kaur will touch the heart of every woman with this feminist yet personal book. How wondrous and true, what milk and honey do.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.