One of my bookish resolutions for this year was to start reading poetry. Milk and Honey is one of the most popular poetry collections out there at the moment and everyone seemed to love it so I decided to start with that.
From the very first poem I knew that it wasn’t exactly going to be a comfortable reading experience but that it would be worth it for what I got out of it. It’s hard to explain but at times it felt like I shouldn’t be reading it, because the poems were just so raw and personal, it felt like I was invading the author’s privacy. (Also, as a note, this collection is quite graphic at points, so I definitely wouldn’t recommend it to readers under 17)
At only three poems in my heart was already broken at everything the author has been through. The collection is split into four parts: The Hurting, the loving, the breaking and the Healing. Slowly they start to add together to create the story of her life, all the things she has gone through, and how she came out of it at the other end.
Although I couldn’t relate to all the poems, some really took my breath away, because of how I can apply them to my life and a lot of the things that I’m going through at the moment. I think because of this there is something in the book for everyone. Some poems were a bit repetitive, but I think, if you couldn’t grasp the meaning of one, you might pick up something from a similar poem, so I believe they all should still be there and are all still worth reading.
This collection is one that I think everyone should read, both men and women, as although it can be quite confronting, it is so important and tells such an important story about the author’s life and the effects that sexual abuse can have. It really makes you consider what you are worth as a person and all the things that you really do deserve in life, not just the mediocrity that many say you do. I can’t speak from a male perspective, but as a woman this novel was really inspiring and made me proud to be female.
Although I loved all the sections of the book, The Healing was definitely my favourite, as it made me feel like a fog had been lifted after the darkness of the first three sections, and really let the light in. It made me feel incredibly hopeful, like I was bursting with anticipation of all that could be, after the pain and sorrow of the rest of the book. Although it was a very hard and heavy book to read, this section made it all worth it, and really proved that you can make it out the other end after enduring such hardships.
I wanted to put sticky notes against all the poems in this book because of how beautiful and relevant they are, but the healing section especially had pretty much every page tabbed because of how much I loved them and wanted to remember them.
The illustrations and their placement really added a lot of effect to some of the poems, as there were many of them throughout the novel, and even the length of the poems added to the impact that they had on you.
By the end of this collection a part of me really just wanted to pick up a pen and write because of how inspiring it was, and how emotional the whole journey was. For some reason it made me feel like I could write poetry if I wanted to, because by the end it really made me feel like I CAN do anything if I want to and try to.
Everything about this collection was pure poetry, from the blurb, to the dedication, to the about page, and then of course the poems themselves. It’s a book I think every person should read, because although everyone may not get the same amount or the exact same thing from it, they will come away knowing more about the lives of many people out there, and will be able to apply at least one poem to something they have been through themselves. It was a really quick novel to get through, but I know it will stay with me for a very very long time.