Review: The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

Posted 10 March, 2013 by DLWhite in Reviews, Writers Read 0 Comments

The Death of Bees Book Cover The Death of Bees
Lisa O'Donnell
January 2, 2013

A riveting, brilliantly written debut novel, The Death of Bees is a coming-of-age story in which two young sisters attempt to hold the world at bay after the mysterious death of their parents.

Marnie and Nelly, left on their own in Glasgow's Hazlehurst housing estate, attempt to avoid suspicion until Marnie can become a legal guardian for her younger sister.

Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, and told in alternating voices, The Death of Beesby Lisa O’Donnell is an enchanting, grimly comic tale of lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for each other.

Summary: 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.

As the new year comes and goes, Lennie, the old man next door, realizes that his young neighbors are alone and need his help. Or does he need theirs? But he’s not the only one who suspects something isn’t right. Soon, the sisters’ friends, their other neighbors, the authorities, and even Gene’s nosy drug dealer begin to ask questions. As one lie leads to another, dark secrets about the girls’ family surface, creating complications that threaten to tear them apart.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review: “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.”

Gene and Izzy are dead. And no one must know.

The Death of Bees begins with a prologue that doesn’t drop hints, hoping you’ll get the point. It comes right out with the truth. Lisa O Donnell spends each chapter thereafter weaving a tale of two young girls left alone to fend for themselves, saved by the friendly old man next door, a sneaky ice cream van driver, and a surprisingly upstanding drug dealer.

This was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon read, written in the rambling tone of two teenage girls- one too much of an adult for her own good, one in desperate need of raising and parenting, something she’d never had, even when her parents were around.

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