‘The bee is more frightened than you,’ he said.
‘Can you imagine how scary it is to be this small in a world that is so big?’
He was right.
When she was five years old, Meredith May was abandoned by both parents. Her father left for the other side of the country. Her mother disappeared into herself.
But when Meredith discovered the rusted old bus where her grandpa kept bees, her world changed forever.
Family duty. Compassion and sacrifice. Unconditional love. The life of a honeybee displays it all. As her grandpa showed her the sacrifices bees make for their colony and the bonds they form with their keeper, Meredith discovered what family really means.
A rich and lyrical coming-of-age story, combined with spellbinding nature writing, The Honey Bus is the extraordinary story of a girl who journeyed into the hive – and found herself.
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Some of the events recorded in this memoir are so sad and shocking that it’s hard to believe you are reading non-fiction, as its content has much in common with a literary fiction story about a dysfunctional American Family. However, this is a woman’s recollection of her childhood, some of it depressing, but mostly uplifting because she finds someone prepared to show her the beauty of nature and how its lessons can help anyone escape to a better life.
Meredith May’s childhood growing up in 1970s North America is interesting from a historical point of view, especially for people who grew up in the same time period. The insight into how honey bees live, what makes them work as a family, and how their experiences can help humans live better lives, is what makes this book remarkable.
It highlights the importance of honey bees to the ecosystem and draws realistic parallels between honey bee and human families and society.
Meredith’s relationship with her younger brother is selfless. It highlights the inadequacy of her mother and grandmother’s maternal skills because of mental health issues and their inherent lack of insight into the needs of young children.
Her Grandpa, although unconventional, understands what she needs, and provides her with security, time and most of all an understanding of life and its mysteries through his love of honey bees and beekeeping.
A complex, poignant journey through the eyes of a young girl faced with life’s misery and wonders, as she learns with her grandpa’s and the honey bees’ help, how to find a life worth living.