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The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
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The Death of Bees (original 2013; edition 2012)

by Lisa O'Donnell

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5275419,152 (3.86)35
Member:TooBusyReading
Title:The Death of Bees
Authors:Lisa O'Donnell
Info:William Heinemann (2012), Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Read, Your library, ARC
Rating:*****
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The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell (2013)

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» See also 35 mentions

English (53)  German (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
This is a great little story about parents getting murdered (just plain dying? Suicide?) and their two resilient girls burying them in the back garden, which is, apparently, pretty representative of what happens in Glasgow all the time. And their next door neighbor, who sorts of takes the girls in under his wing. Oh, and he was convicted of pedophilia (paedophilia for them Scots) for soliciting an underage male prostitute in the park.
I really enjoyed the interwoven narrative from each of the main characters -- Marnie, the eldest daughter and Nelly, her preternaturally bright and aloof ward by default, and Lennie, the next door neighbor living out the last days of his life. Each one of them have something to hide -- from each other, from themselves, from the outside world -- and the book is a kind of cozy mystery where certain things get revealed and lit from different angles pretty masterfully, I thought. Like swimming in a murky local pond, with all of its organic material making the waters difficult to see through, until you see the shaft of light ahead, lighting up that boat that sank when you tried to float it years ago.
The characters were a great bunch with whom you could spend a bit of time, sharing their secrets and getting swept along in the book. ( )
  mhanlon | Sep 30, 2014 |
More than anything else, I LOVED the depth and rawness of the characters in this book. It wasn't uplifting
, at all, but I didn't really mind. I could've read an entire book on each of these characters. Marnie, the tenacious, headstrong girl who has built up emotional walls with everyone she knows. Nelly, who's character was slowly revealed throughout the book. Lennie, my favorite, who was heartbreakingly misunderstood. Even the dead parents had such personality. This is definitely a book that I will remember for a long time. I wasn't ready to be finished with their stories, and would love to read a sequel, or even a prequel. ( )
  ASmithey | Aug 31, 2014 |
Lisa O'Donnell is my new favorite writer. She sets her novels in Scotland, though their origins are universal: children struggling in a world where loathsome and/or incompetent adults hold sway.

Marnie and Nelly are Glaswegians whose parents are drug addled and criminally neglectful. When they get their just desserts, the girls try to stay together and to avoid detection. This is a common theme, but here, in alternating voices, is a story of uniqueness, courage, strength, and powerful love.

The girls' next door neighbor is an older gay man, Lennie, whose lover had recently died. He is by nature a nurturer and saves the girls in every possible way, especially when their missing maternal grandfather returns to claim them, and Marnie knows right away that he's "off".

This book made my heart hurt and heal. Most highly recommended. ( )
  froxgirl | Aug 27, 2014 |
Dark and yet beautifully funny and uplifting. This is a story about sisters and the unbreakable bond as well as the impact of abusive families on adolescents. I also thought the depth of the characters was well done. The author was sympathetic to the more socially unacceptable characters and showed shades of good and bad in every one. ( )
  Erin.Patel | Aug 22, 2014 |
Dark and yet beautifully funny and uplifting. This is a story about sisters and the unbreakable bond as well as the impact of abusive families on adolescents. I also thought the depth of the characters was well done. The author was sympathetic to the more socially unacceptable characters and showed shades of good and bad in every one. ( )
  Erin.Patel | Aug 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lisa O'Donnellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jacobs, StefanieÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Risvik, KjellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my children Max and Christie
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Izzy called me Marnie after her mother. She's dead now, actually they're both dead.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0434021474, Paperback)

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.

Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, The Death of Bees is an enchanting and grimly comic tale of three lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for each other.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Trying to keep the death of their parents a secret, Marnie and her little sister Nelly are on their own until several residents in Glasgow's Hazelhurst housing estate suspect that something is not right.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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