Probably first and foremost, this isn’t a book about bees. Yet, the topic of the Colony Collapse Disorder does make an appearance early on the book. The unfortunate circumstances of the book are shrouded in some mystery, much like why bees are declining in numbers. However, the more we learn about the bee decline and the more pages you read of this book, you realize that it is all about the toxic environment we live in. It is set in modern Glascow Scotland and has some pretty dark themes with flashes of life that you would hope no one, especially kids, ever had to experience (sex for drugs, molestation, drinking, drugs…). While the main characters, Marnie and Nelly, didn’t create their own toxic environment, they are stuck with the consequences and subsequent decline, despite being just children. The story of them burying their dead parents in the back yard under some lavender bushes will totally captivate your attention, make you wonder if you ever want to live in Scotland and remind you that even seemingly bad apples can know and demonstrate love and kindness. I read this book in one day and only paused to eat lunch – unstoppable! The cover bills it as “witty, funny ….. unsettling” and the pages truly deliver this. Just laugh out loud, even if you feel uncomfortable. The author has second book out now, Closed Doors, which I will indubitably be reading.
NPRs interview with the author: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/05/168558333/death-of-bees-captures-a-grim-gory-coming-of-age
Book Club/Discussion guide: http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/13-fiction/9038-death-of-bees-odonnell?start=3