‘our backs tell stories no books have the spine to carry’ – women of colour, rupi kaur

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poetry and pancakes pt i

So I got some free time this weekend (shocker) and decided to read the widely acclaimed, much recommended and extremely photogenic ‘milk and honey’ by Rupi Kaur.

It was an emotional journey to say the least.

Official Review: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

This anthology will tear you limb from emotional limb and then carefully, exquisitely, put you back together again in the most devastating way possible. This book is an earthquake under your skin and, yes. It moved me to tears more than once. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

The anthology is in four parts; the hurting, the loving, the breaking and the healing. Each section is focused on a different part of the poet’s life.

The hurting tells the story of a young girl, turned woman, who learned ‘to quite down cause my opinions made me less beautiful.‘ It’s a story of family, and how sometimes family just isn’t a good enough apology. There are mentions of rape and sexual abuse. They are not glossed over or made pretty or neglected in favour of the aesthetic. They are written about poignantly, yet unflinchingly. Where there is an overall theme of hurt and pain and a stifled voice, there is an undercurrent of defiance and bravery, and it’s magnificent.

The loving tells the story of, well, love, and how devastatingly easy it is to fall hopelessly into it;

‘I know

I should crumble

for better reasons

but have you seen

that boy he brings the sun to its

knees every


The breaking paints a vivid portrait of a messy, messy breakup and the subsequent emotional fallout. It’s not about the screaming-and-chair-throwing-breakup it so easily could’ve been, though. It resonates with a quiet, powerful melancholy and, at times, an anger that feels like a gathering storm. A storm barely kept in check by the iron will of the speaker.

Lastly, the healing. Perhaps the most uplifting section of the whole anthology, it’s all about self love, and the ability to grow despite the sadness of the past weighing you down. It shows that the trials of life don’t have to make you hard and bitter. ‘to be soft is to be powerful’.  It felt like a love letter to female kind and an ode to our strength and power.

Overall, I believe this worthy of the all the hype and anticipation. It lived up to all my expectations and then surpassed them. I will be pressing a copy into the hands of all my friends and family. Read it and weep.

esmie x

★★★★★ (5 starred review)