The is a collection of poetry. But it is all connected. I am naive enough to expect rhymes when I hear poetry. But this is beautiful. It made me feel guilt, regret, shame and hope. Every other page has an illustration. They are as expressive as the words. The combination of words and drawings express emotions beautifully.
The poems start off with a little girl. The parental love. The neglect. The abuse. The poems progress into young love, heartbreak, redemption and healing. There is a lot of hurt in the words.
It is an admonishment to fathers and understanding their love. It is a scream to lost love and an acceptance of the pain. Kaur talks of acceptance and forgiveness. Above all, she talks of loving yourself.
Kaur shows a capacity for humor within sadness. She prescribes mint chocolate chip ice-cream for a broken heart. She say "the mint will calm your heart. you deserve the chocolate."
Kaur is not coy about any topic. She writes about child abuse, physical abuse, infidelity, mensuration, depression, self-blame and self-pity.
The illustrations are haunting. One shows a woman's body as a tree with the arms raised into branches and roots for feet. Another one shows a clock with the numbers falling off. Yet another with a woman on their knees, crying into her hands and an arrow pierced in her back.
I read the 200 pages in an hour or so. But the words and drawings stayed with me for hours. They will stay with me for much longer. This is a beautiful work of art. Calling it a collection of poetry does not do justice to the illustrations.