Five words from the blurb: different, sisters, secret, parents, suspicious
The Death of Bees is a strange book. Strange in terms of premise, but also in my response to it – I can’t decide whether or not I liked it. The book gripped me throughout, but I found the characters, the plot, and the writing style annoying. Perhaps it is one of those books you are meant to love-to-hate? I’ll take the fact I had such a strong emotional response as a positive and try to explain the reasons for my reaction.
The Death of Bees begins with fifteen-year-old Marnie and her younger sister, Nelly, burying the bodies of their parents in the garden. Rather than risk being taken into care and separated the two girls decide to cover up the death of their parents and try to continue life as normal.
Unfortunately both Marnie and Nelly were irritating characters. A stream-of-consciousness writing style is normally enough for me to abandon a book, but even though their teenage thoughts drove me nuts, the ramblings of these girls was strangely mesmerising:
The plot was weird and unconvincing. Lots of aspects felt unrealistic and I groaned at the plot twists on numerous occasions. The next door neighbour was especially strange and I failed to understand his motivations. But, despite continual issues with the book, I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know what happened to these strange characters and I guess that proves the book was a good one.
On a positive note, the inclusion of a child on the autism spectrum should be commended. I especially liked the fact this wasn’t included in the marketing and many people will be oblivious to it. *
Overall this book really annoyed me, but I can’t escape the fact that I enjoyed my mental rants at its absurdity. Recommended to book clubs who’d like an animated discussion!
The thoughts of other bloggers:
…the writing was incredible and the story line was unique and original! A Simple Taste for Reading
…the end was just too pat, too sweet, too nice, too happy, whatever you want to call it. 2013: The Year in Books
…refreshingly different The Book Jotter
* although in an ideal world I’d like everyone to spot an autistic character/person straight away.