Recent Reads: milk and honey and We’re All In This Together

I bought both of these books in the spring/summer and only just now have gotten around to reading them, but I guess that’s the life of a student for ya!

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I was worried about milk and honey because of all the hype it had received, but figured I couldn’t ignore it because of the hype. Boy, was I disappointed. I knew I was in for short, minimalist type poems based on what I’d briefly skimmed through on instagram, but I was not a fan of this at all. If anyone like myself had the fortune (or misfortune? LOL) of being on tumblr circa 2009 and remember all of the bad, emo, moody tumblr poetry that arose from that era, then you’ll understand why I do not like milk and honey. I feel like as a teen most of us wrote like that, but either grew out of it, or was challenged to move on from that by creative writing workshops and professors throughout the years. I am by no means a poetry expert, but one thing I have learned through recent poetry courses is that the shorter your work is, the more important your word choice is, particularly with poetry. If you want to play a fun drinking game and need to get ratchetly drunk immediately, just take a shot or a drink each time you read the words “honey”, “whispers”, and “legs” in milk and honey. The majority of what I read feels like a dashed off first draft of a poem that one would write while drunk and having a good cry. I feel really horrible bashing this book because I do have friends who swear this book changed their perspective of poetry for the better. I do respect the success Rupi Kaur has created for herself at such a young age (#goals), I really do, and I’m happy that she was able to work through her trauma in this collection and that perhaps other trauma survivors will benefit from this. I love being able to see women, especially WOC, succeed in the writing world. However, I did not like this book personally at all. I made it halfway through, got frustrated, sent a few angry texts to my friend about it, and then chucked it on my donate pile. Can’t please everyone, I suppose.

And then we have We’re All In This Together by Amy Jones, another female Canadian author. It took me awhile to get through this book, I’d say about a month and a half, but I liked this one so much. I love books that have a vibrant and painfully real Canadian setting, and that have alternating narratives bouncing off of different characters. The story focuses on the Parker family, their complicated history, and the incident in which grandma Kate goes over Kakabeka Falls in a wooden barrel, willingly, as her dementia gradually gets worse. The unveiling of each little family story is carefully thought out, and I appreciate that. Nothing but good feelings for this book.

I’ve made it a goal to start reading before bed again each night, only books that I genuinely enjoy and want to read, nothing school or work related. I’m hoping that this will help me hunt down my love for reading (where the hell did it go, seriously?), help me sleep better, and help reduce the number of panic attacks I have during the night. I will let you know how that goal keeps up!

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