Recently I was reading reviews on the Indigo website about the sun and her flowers by Rupi Kaur, and two different reviewers called it “millennial bait.” It wasn’t used in a positive way. It was used in one-star reviews. The reviews seemed to insinuate that because this book was largely appealing to millennials, it was poorly written. Because it largely caters to the millennial experience, it is bad, over-hyped, pretentious writing.
Which I think, frankly, is bullshit.
Have you ever read classic literature? Pretentious. Have you ever read academic literature? Coming from an academic, it’s pretentious and poorly written. Have you ever read some classic poetry written by men? Pretentious as shit.
Of course the book is going to be over-hyped. Millennials related to Kaur’s first collection, milk and honey, and were excited that there was a second collection that we would likely relate to. So we promoted it. We bought it and related to it. We loved it and talked about it. It was hyped up because we were hyped up about it. That doesn’t make it bad.
Why is it that because something caters to the millennial experience, it is bad?
(it’s because Baby Boomers and Gen X hate us for killing capitalism) Kaur is a millennial. She writes about her experience, as a millennial. She writes for people who have similar experiences as her. Namely millennials.
Just because a piece of writing is catered to a specific population doesn’t make it bad.
Just because you don’t relate to that writing doesn’t make it bad.
It is not intended for you, and that doesn’t make it inherently bad.
And why can’t something be “millennial bait”? Why are we not allowed to have things specifically for us? Why can we not enjoy writing that we relate to? Why does that make it bad? Why does writing about the millennial experience make it bad?
Personally, I think in a world largely run by old white men who have had every privilege available, the fact that a woman of colour, from immigrant parents, who suffers from mental illnesses and endured past abuse, can publish two collections of poetry and have them be as widely received as they have been is pretty incredible. The fact that so many people relate to them says something else about our generation. Maybe it says something that older generations should listen to.
If so many people can relate to poems about toxic relationships, toxic gender dynamics, and mental illness, there might be some larger problems in the world than a book of poetry marketed to millennials. Just saying.
Thank you for reading this rant, and please let me know your thoughts below.