Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

Author: Lisa O'Donnell
Publisher: January 2013
Date of publication: Harper

Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neither of them were beloved.

Marnie and her little sister Nelly are on their own now. Only they know what happened to their parents, Izzy and Gene, and they aren’t telling. While life in Glasgow’s Hazlehurst housing estate isn’t grand, they do have each other. Besides, it’s only one year until Marnie will be considered an adult and can legally take care of them both.

I had to sit on this one for a while.  Death of Bees is in a word, bizarre.  I'm still not even sure if I can say whether or not I liked it. The story is not a happy one.  It's raw, gruesome and depressing.  The story is told through the voices of sisters Nelly and Marnie and their elderly neighbor Lennie.  Nelly and Marnie find their parents dead and decide to bury them in the garden to avoid going into foster care. As each person speaks, the reader learns more about the miserable lives that Nelly and Marnie have had up to now.  Not that it gets any better after they are on their own.

I think the thing that I didn't like about the book was as I was reading I just kept getting more and more down.  I never really felt a sense of hope for either girl.  I know Marine is a product of her parents. Nelly definitely has something odd about her.  I didn't really like either of the girls.  I just felt really bad for them. I did like Lennie. What he did for the girls was wonderful and amazing.  

This is just a really hard book to review for me.  I think it is one of those that each reader has to experience for themselves.  I'm not totally sure if I would recommend it to everyone, maybe just a select few people to whom I know this time of book would appeal.   

About the author:

Lisa O’Donnell won the Orange Screenwriting Prize in 2000 for The Wedding Gift. A native of Scotland, she is now a full-time writer and lives in Los Angeles with her two children. The Death of Bees is her frst novel and was the winner of the Commonwealth Book Prize.
Visit Lisa at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
Tour Schedule:
Wednesday, October 23rd: Peppermint PhD
Friday, October 25th: Booksie’s Blog
Monday, October 28th: she treads softly
Wednesday, October 30th: Book-alicious Mama
Thursday, October 31st: Olduvai Reads
Monday, November 4th: Love at First Book
Tuesday, November 5th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, November 6th: red headed book child
Thursday, November 7th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, November 12th: Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, November 14th: guiltless reading

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, this certainly sound like an unusual story but one that I'm looking forward to reading. Thanks for being on the tour.