Review: The Death of Bees
The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell
Publisher: Harper Collins
Hazlehurst housing estate, Glasgow, Christmas Eve 2010. Fifteen-year-old Marnie and her little sister Nelly have just finished burying their parents in the back garden. Only Marnie and Nelly know how they got there. Lennie, the old guy next door, has taken a sudden interest in his two young neighbours and is keeping a close eye on them. He soon realises that the girls are all alone, and need his help – or does he need theirs?
As the year ends and another begins, the sisters’ friends, their neighbours, and the authorities – not to mention the local drug dealer, who’s been sniffing around for their father – gradually start to ask questions. And as one lie leads to another, darker secrets about Marnie’s family come to light, making things even more complicated.
I had to let The Death of Bees sit with me for a couple of days before I could review it just because I really didn’t know what to say about it. I still don’t know what to say about it or how to describe the various emotions I went through while reading this book.
Lisa O’Donnell doesn’t waste any time starting her book. Within seconds of starting the book, we discover that Marnie and Nelly’s parents are dead and they can’t tell anyone about it. They’re used to living on their own though because their parents were terrible along with being drug users. They’ve gone missing before and have abandon Marnie and Nelly before. As they girls tried to figure out a way to live on their own, their next door neighbor Lennie, notices that the parents are missing and steps in to take care of them.
What follows is a heartwarming yet gloomy and dark story as Marnie, Nelly, and Lennie form their own dysfunctional family. The story is told from three different point of view—Marnie, Nelly, and Lennie—and O’Donnell did a wonderful job of creating three distinct voices and giving each character their own personality. It’s really difficult to describe the book because it was humorous at times, yet the situation would be so bleak and dark that I wasn’t exactly sure how I was suppose to react to it.
The Death of Bees is a fascinating and interesting book that really shows you that family can come to you in unexpected places and that it takes more than just sharing the same blood and flesh to truly be called a family. It’s definitely one that I would highly recommend and I was left with this uplifting feeling when I was done with it.