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The Death of Bees: A Novel
     

The Death of Bees: A Novel

4.1 69
by Lisa O'Donnell
 

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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

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The Death of Bees: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 69 reviews.
Twink More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read. So raw and wonderfully written.
RebeccaScaglione More than 1 year ago
I received this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.   The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell hooked me from the start.  I read this book over the course of one day, totally unwilling to put it down. The Death of Bees is about Marnie and Nelly, who have buried their not-so-wonderful parents in the backyard of their (potentially project) house.  Marnie is a 15-year-old, super smart but also kind of lazy teen, who enjoy cigarettes, occasional drug use, and being Nelly’s protector.  Nelly is a little “off,” an almost-normal girl, who just seems to have a little bit of social trouble. Marnie and Nelly need to keep the secret and survive, especially one the welfare checks are cut off. . . and they do so with the help of their “sexual predator” neighbor, an elderly gay man named Lennie who had one incident that has labeled him for the rest of his life. Lennie becomes a surrogate grandfather to the girls, and while he doesn’t know exactly where the parents are, he lets that go to both help protect Nelly and Marnie and also to have their company. They all have secrets, and through the telling of The Death of Bees, you realize that sometimes family doesn’t always have to be who you are related to by blood. The Death of Bees is a book I recommend.  It’s one you can read quickly, even at over 300 pages. Would you cover up a secret if you knew it was for the best interest of someone you loved? Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story is a little depressing and some of the language is offensive. The characters made this a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A jarring and raw plot, but ultimately a book about family. Two girls left on their own when their parents die (don't weep for the parents, they were scum) must find a way to stay together. The people who hurt and help them define the families these girls form. Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's been a long time since I've read an entire book in one day, but I just couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book. A must read. Lisa O'Donnell is a fantastic writer and I'm looking forward to her next book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A captivating story written in an uncommon style. Each of the main characters contributes in the first person, often providing a first hand perspective of a scene from each of the character's point of view. A story of redemption from tragedy, of family love found in the ashes of sorrow, violence and loss. Many wounded characters come together in this tale and in their compassion help to make each other whole.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started and finished in just one day.....just could not put this book down! An amazing book about family, and how family comes in many forms. Well writen!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books that I have read. The story is told in chapters by three characters. The characters will make you wish for better things for them all. A very interesting book and a book you will keep in your thoughts.
klbj More than 1 year ago
It's not a happy book. I didn't expect to like it. But I loved it; couldn't put it down.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Quite an interesting book and definitely different from most of what I read, this book centers around two sisters who are burying their parents and at the young ages of 15 and 12 are trying to keep up the appearances to avoid being separated.  Their inquisitive neighbor enters the picture and provides another voice to the book with his own issues that he is trying to live with.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once I began reading, I couldn't put it down. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was suprised by how much I really enjoyed this book. The characters are well defined and likable and the story holds your interest throughout. Surprise ending...The beginning details are a tad gruesome but keep reading...you won't be disappointed !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the story of the young girls growing up in Glasgow!
CoCoVanAron More than 1 year ago
I loved it.  The characters, setting and story line.   While a tough pill to swallow it was intriguing.   Very interesting read indeed.
PagesofComfort More than 1 year ago
Raw and Original What a strange, but wonderful book! This story was unlike anything I've read before. It was a little dark, disturbing, and vulgar at times, but it made the story raw and original. Marnie and Nelly are wonderful girls that are just trying to stay with each other, the only family they know. Lennie is a grandfather figure to them and loves the girls dearly. This book was great. Marnie is a little rough around the edges, and Nelly, a quiet, soft-spoken girl. They don't seem like they would be close sisters, but after their difficult childhood, they are there for each other. I highly recommend this book to everyone, as long as you don't mind a little vulgarity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely entertaining as you love and hate the various characters. Would highly recommend this book about two of today's teenagers and their good and bad caretakers. It's a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorites. I could not put this book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
brilliant and well written
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great ! !!!
magatron27 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book immensely. I could not put it down. I read it over a 2-day span on the beach. I am interested in other books written by this author. This was written like nothing else I have ever read and I will read this again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such a sad little tale, and sad that these things do happen to children in this world, but there is still goodness and redemption in the story. Well rounded.