Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell

Death of Bees was another powerful recommendation by National Public Radio.


I believe in a greater power, in a God who sends things my way and that I am meant to be paying attention. Several books have been recommended to me lately which I didn’t choose, or might have avoided had I known how painfully they dealt with poor parenting and children in the depths of horrific poverty.

Here is what the lead into the book says:

Today Is Christmas Eve,
Today is my birthday,
Today I am fifteen,
Today I buried my parents
in the back yard.
Neither of them were beloved.

Oh my goodness! I am sucked in immediately. And immediately I am overcome by the grinding nature of poverty, the enormous amount of energy it takes just to be fed, to have a roof over your head, to function in the bureaucracy that seeks to ameliorate the burdens of poverty.

I am horrified by the lives of innocent children in the hands of people who should never have responsibility for anyone, even themselves, their decision making skills are so non-existent. There are parents who have no idea what self-sacrifice GOOD parenting requires, who raise children who are often trying to survive their own parents.

The Death of Bees has redemption. It has two sisters who love one another and are smarter than the average child. It has a neighbor who notices, not in a snoopy or intrusive way, but in a kind, helping and ultimately sacrificial way. It has moments of black humor, when the neighbor’s dog keeps digging at the parental graves in the backyard and bringing bones inside just at the worst moments.

Ultimately, it is a tale of survival, in spite of the parents, in spite of the system, in spite of betrayals by family and friends. There is a glimmer of hope that life may be different for these sisters, if they can survive their upbringing and overcome their childhood.

Now, go read the book 🙂

January 30, 2013 Posted by | Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Family Issues, Fiction, Financial Issues, Food, Friends & Friendship, Humor, Lies, Living Conditions, Parenting, Relationships, Social Issues, Values | , | 4 Comments