Customer Reviews for

The Death of Bees: A Novel

Average Rating 4
( 52 )
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(26)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Eugene Doyle. Born 19 June 1972. Died 17 December 2010, aged thi

Eugene Doyle. Born 19 June 1972. Died 17 December 2010, aged thirty-eight. Isabel Ann Macdonald. Born 24 May 1974. Died 18 December 2010, aged thirty-six.

Today is Christmas Eve. Today is my birthday. Today I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents in the backyard. Neith...
Eugene Doyle. Born 19 June 1972. Died 17 December 2010, aged thirty-eight. Isabel Ann Macdonald. Born 24 May 1974. Died 18 December 2010, aged thirty-six.

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."

The opening prologue of Lisa O'Donnell's book The Death of Bees hooked me right away. Aren't you wondering? Where can the story go after such a beginning? Well, O'Donnell takes it place I wouldn't have imagined......

Marnie and her sister Nelly live on a housing estate in Glasgow. With the death of their parents Marnie is determined to keep herself and the younger Nelly together. So she lies - if anyone asks, their parents have gone to Turkey for a bit. It's not that much of a stretch - the girls have been left to fend for themselves many times as Gene and Izzy drink, smoke and party their lives away. But, Lennie, the lonely old man next door does notice. He begins to help them, feeding them and providing a clean, warm place for them to stay. But the questions start coming from all sides - teachers, friends and more. And Lennie helps the girls by lying as well. Until......

The story is told in chapters alternating through the three main characters. The same events are seen very differently in some cases. O'Donnell's characters are wonderful. Marnie is tough, resilient, brilliant but tiring of holding it all together. Nelly is wounded in many ways and seeks solace in her own world, often speaking as though she's in an old movie. Lennie too, is wounded by the world, having endured his own hardships. But the three together are able to find pockets of happiness and joy together and - dare I say it - the family that each has been yearning for. Until.....

As I crept nearer to the end of the book, I accepted my fate - I was going to be up very late that night - there was no way I could possibly put it down without knowing the outcome. O'Donnell manipulates the reader magnificently. We are given subtle insights into the girls' past with each of their narratives that only intensifies the need to know more (and the rapid turning of just one more page) Their situation is appalling, but there is that little glimmer that maybe, just maybe it will be okay. (precipitating more rapid page turning)

I absolutely adored this book. Every year there a few books that stand out for me, ones that I immediately think of when someone says 'Can you recommend a good read? Definitely - The Death of Bees.

posted by Twink on January 28, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

Over 300 pages

Filled with sex, grown men with 14 year old girls. Incest with very young girls. Gay man with very young prostitutes. 15 year old lesbians. Young girls and their boyfriends. Gay man and his partner, unmarried adults. There is drug use, selling drugs, stealing drug money...
Filled with sex, grown men with 14 year old girls. Incest with very young girls. Gay man with very young prostitutes. 15 year old lesbians. Young girls and their boyfriends. Gay man and his partner, unmarried adults. There is drug use, selling drugs, stealing drug money and alcohal abuse by children. Kids are smoking at 11 years old. There is an over abundance of cursing. There us murder and its cover up, very grizzly. One of the sisters is described as mentaly handicapped. There is child abuse by everyone. This book is well edited. It is set in England. The English words and slang were hard to decipher at times. I did not like this book at all. The ending was okay. I am astonished there were so many good reviews, then I noticed many of them were by game playing kids. This book is for adults only. I found it to be unbelievable and very disturbing. It literally made me sick to my stomach in places.

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posted by Anonymous on May 4, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2013

    Sister story

    Really keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering when the gig will be up!
    Great story about learning not to judge at first sight and the power of love on many levels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    One of my all time favorites. I could not put this book down!

    One of my all time favorites. I could not put this book down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    brilliant and well written

    brilliant and well written

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2013

    Marnie and Nelly are alone.  If I write a normal description, pe

    Marnie and Nelly are alone.  If I write a normal description, people might think this is a normal book and it isn't.  I want to call it weird but it isn't weird so much as artistic.  It really comes down to how the story is told.  The story is told from the perspective of Marnie, Nelly, and Lennie.  Each chapter has a different perspective and focuses on the year after Marnie and Nelly's parents disappear.  It's a bit different because at times, there is a bit of overlap and the reader might hear about the same incident from multiple points of views.  Perhaps most interesting is how the reader is often mislead because a character believes something that turns out to be untrue.  It's a puzzle but not quite a mystery.  Have I confused you enough?  Essentially, Marnie and Nelly know where their mom and dad are but they hide it because they each believe that the other is guilty of murder.  But it is difficult for them to keep their secret as their parents previous behavior have resulted in the creation of some major issues in both Marnie and Nelly.  Though, both deal differently.  Lenny is a lonely man who has his own issues but who is desperately needed by the girls and he needs them, though they don't quite realize it.




    I loved loved this book.  At first, I was a bit skeptical because I realized that the story was told from multiple perspectives and reads like diary entries.  All of the events have occurred and the character is retelling each event and including their thoughts.  But I soon found myself feeling so close to the characters and I felt so connected.  There is a charm to the writing style that really drew me in.  While various events happen in the girls lives, the background story of what their parents were like and what happened to them slowly unfolds.  It's as if it is unintentional and I find that beautiful.  My emotions were high and my instincts were true (most of the time) and I was invested.  There is a bit of heartbreak, sex, and tangy language but it's said in a roundabout way.  Nothing really in your face.




    Overall a lovely read once you adjust to style.  It ends up adding a whole new dimension.  Just wonderful.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    A wonderful way to spend my Saturday

    It's been a long time since I've read an entire book in one day, but I just couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Nook ap review

    The nook ap is not very friendly. No place to enlarge font or bookmark or search capability .

    1 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

    Loved it!

    Loved the story of the young girls growing up in Glasgow!

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  • Posted July 14, 2014

    This book grabbed me from the beginning with "Today is Chri

    This book grabbed me from the beginning with "Today is Christmas Eve.Today is my birthday.I am fifteen. Today I buried my parents."
    Marnie and her younger sister are left alone when their father dies and their mother commits suicide.  Left on their own, underage,
    with no money, they struggle to survive, and not get caught by the authorities or separated.  Next door neighbor Lennie takes them in
    and offers them some semblance of family life.  Lennie is gay, with an unsavory history that would make him an unfit guardian
    so they keep their relationship another secret. It doesnt take long for the questions to begin, from friends, school, and a long
    lost grandparent.

    The story is told in short narratives, thoughts from the three characters. The characters are wonderfully written. Marnie is street wise,
    smart and tough, forced to be the adult. Nelly is strangly different, compliant, and fiercely loyal. Lennie is the lonely old  man next door
    who sees the children have been abandoned by their abusive parents and steps in to offer them a family life. They are all wounded
     souls and together they find some happiness. 

    The storyline was intriguing and I can imagine it taking place in a poor community. While their circumstances are appalling,
    their devotion to one another is appealing.  The story is dark.  Their lives are surrounded by abuse, alcohol, drugs, sex, poverty,
    neglect and disinterest. But there is light too as the three main characters find loyalty and love and eventually a way out.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and especially loved the ending.  Read it - you won't be disappointed.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    "Enchanting and grimly comic "blurb left out

    Pervert pleasing to child endangerment if you just read it it doesnt count if no pictures? buska

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2014

    Natalie

    Parker * i say realizing ur abbies * its fine . I have ti go good night .

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2014

    Parker

    Goodnight nat

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2013

    Anonymous

    ?

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This book started out with such intensity and intrigue but quick

    This book started out with such intensity and intrigue but quickly fizzled down. It did seem to pick up toward the end, however, there were some parts that were difficult for me to get through. I kept desperately trying to like it and get through it, and it took me putting it down for a few months and coming back to it to seem to be able to pick it up a little easier and continue on to finish it.
    Once I got started again, it was a rather fast read.

    I felt like the story moved from crisis to crisis, which maybe created just a tad too much drama for one book, that wasn't that long to begin
    with. I did find difficulty in following some of the story and the importance of the characters mentioned. The book also is written from the
    POV's of the three main characters, but I found the writing to be odd, as in who they were speaking to, sometimes I was uncertain. 

    I never did really understand the importance of the Jeffrey character that Lennie continually is "speaking to" throughout the story, other than
    he was an important person to Lennie. It was difficult to read through as not really any of the characters were likable. Marnie was difficult
    and temperamental and just out of control and Nellie was weird, odd, and quirky. Lennie was the only halfway normal and the author tried to
    butcher that thought by part of the story line in the beginning. There didn't seem to be many good qualities about any of the characters that
    would keep the reader feeling invested in their lives. 

    I found that the book started out by quickly drawing the reader in, but as quickly as I was drawn in, I was cast out by the slow-moving story.
    I did feel that once I picked the book up again after a temporary hiatus, that the story moved along at a more comfortable pace and became
    more interesting and worth reading. I seem to think that this book is one of those that either you like or you don't!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

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    Posted January 14, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2013

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