Today, I walked around the streets of Camden to ask people’s opinions on a slightly controversial book, milk and honey. This is a book close to my heart, as well as a New York Times Bestseller. So naturally, I was quite curious about how it is received by a variety of people.
Upon stepping out onto the streets, everyone look quite stressed and on a mission to go about their days. Once I had reached the high street, I overheard an American couple speaking to their daughter. I approached the mother first, who had no interest in speaking to me. I could have been disheartened at being shot down straight away. However, her daughter quickly approached me and put a massive smile onto my face. She was a young woman, who told me that she was studying abroad with Boston University. She amazingly spoke out and said, “It was given to me by my sister. It brought tears to my eyes as we have both been sexually assaulted. It gives power to women even though we have suffered so much outlining everything that a woman has been through – heartbreak and such.” I was so impressed with her bravery and the strength and determination she had when speaking to me, disappointing her parents who quickly left her behind. She took a piece of my heart with her as she entered the underground station and had to depart so quickly. All I could think was that my heart aches for women helping women and that Rupi would be proud.
Next, I stepped into Urban Outfitters who I knew were a stockist of the book. Upon entering, there was a couple in the home section browsing scratch maps. I asked them what this book meant to them, to which they responded with asking what it meant to me. I said that it was one of my favourite books and the reason for my first tattoo. At this point they were more interested in speaking with me and the female said, “I have seen it on tumblr, instagram, pinterest, weheartit and other social media. It looks pretty good, I didn’t know what it was but just saw what people liked from it.” For her partner, he had seen it for the first in the store and decided to pick it up and have a browse through it. He then said, “It looks pretty deep.” and added that “It must be pretty big.” whilst looking at the text that said New York Times Bestseller written on the bottom of the book.
A male employee at Urban Outfitters was also happy to speak to me about the book. He was aware that it was sold in the store and said, “I know about it and the second book which has just come out. It’s quotes about life, positive thinking…proverbs of some sort.” He was interested in taking a further look at both books. A female employee then was also interested in me wondering around the store, with this fascinating and famous book. She said, “I haven’t read it, but I know it’s really popular. I’ve been curious though.” Upon opening and browsing the book, she added,”It’s raw, real and about issues that everyone goes through (although when I say everyone I mean women).”
There were three young German females walking along, who were happy to stop, especially as they wanted to practice their English. However one stepped back whilst I spoke to the others as she had very little English. One said, “It’s not so full and looks good because of the drawings.” with the other adding, “The sentences are worth thinking about.” I was very appreciative of people who were willing to look at and read a book that was not in their native language, with the images being what spoke out most to the three of them.
Finally, I saw a female, shop assistant who was handing out sale flyers in front of a vintage store. I approached her to ask how her day was going with people ignoring her as she attempted to lure them in to buy second hand clothes. As I handed her the book, the first thing she did was take a photo of the cover whilst saying, “I’m interested”. Upon opening the book onto a random page, she commented, “Aww, that’s good. I love the drawings as well – it’s so crude. It’s a bit selfish whilst not caring about yourself. It sort of says give me everything and I love that.” As she was very interested, I pulled out the second book to which she responded, “My friend told me about that one, it’s really good.” Our conversation flowed and I could have spoken to her for such a long time as she continued, “I love reading books about feminism that aren’t what people think feminism should be. People call me a Feminazi – but if I was, he would be dead. However, I am quite a strong feminist. But I mean I don’t go to bars in low cut tops to get cheap drinks. I hate when my friend says I’m a feminist then lets their boyfriend treat me like shit. My boyfriend treats me like a queen and I treat me like a king.”
To top this off, I walked back to Bauer Academy with a swing in my step and a smile on my face which grew and grew as I saw the Coca-Cola Christmas van with people dressed up as Santa and free cans of coke. I was invigorated, impressed and inspired.