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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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7068213,397 (3.87)54
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 54 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
(Contemporary, Scottish)

Two young girls bury their parents in the back yard and try to carry on as normal so that their parents’ assistance cheques will keep coming. The lonely widowed next-door neighbour watches them, suspects that something is amiss, and reaches out to include them in his life.
The story is told in the first person from the POV of each of the three main characters. I remember that the voices were clear and distinct. Also, the burgeoning relationship between the neighbours is credibly drawn.

Read this if: you’d like a sneak peek into the slums of modern-day Glasgow and the life of many of those who receive welfare; or if you like stories with young, resourceful protagonists. 4 stars ( )
  ParadisePorch | Jul 1, 2016 |
[The Death of Bees] by [Lisa O'Donnell] is a coming of age novel set in Glasgow, Scotland. The characters are realistic and make you feel for them although the dialogue is hard to understand at points because it is the true way they speak in the poorer parts of Scotland. This does not deter but rather enhances the characters who had to survive on their own and take care of each other even before their 'parents' die and get buried. They learn to care not just for each other but also outsiders who really do have their best intentions in mind. ( )
  MsHooker | Jun 28, 2016 |
Good lord, why is this first chapter so damned detailed?!
And where are the bees? I'm concerned for them, especially in this environment.

ETA: So this wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The characters made me feel, which doesn't always happen. Of course, most of what I felt was irritation or anger, but it was something.

Also, I'm sad to report that the bees only made the briefest of appearances. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
Review: The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell.

This is a story of two neglected young sisters who live in Glasgow and they needed to keep the secret of burying their parents in the back yard to survive. Their characters are clearly developed, the plot was dramatically different and intriguing and humor was entwined throughout the book along with the tragedies.

Mamie is fifthteen years old, smart but also a sort of rebellious child. She was lazy, smoked cigarettes, an occasional drug user, she was having sex with a married man, she cursed a lot, but she shadowed her little sister, loved her, among the little sisterly tiffs here and there, and protected her.

Nelly, the younger of the two was wise for her age, a little egotistic, never wrong, she sometimes presented herself as classy, but she was just a normal child who needed guidance and loved her older sister but held back on her emotions.

Than we meet the next door neighbor, Lennie. He is an older homosexual who is mourning the death of his partner of forty years. He came into the lives of the two sisters with concern. He knew something was wrong next door because the parents weren’t there and the girls told him they were on vacation but the days seemed to go by without any word of them coming home. Lennie took them under his wings, which at first the girls took advantage of but eventually he was a hero to them.

The story goes on with the three main characters supporting and caring for each other. There’s a lot more two this story that was enjoyable and heartwarming. Even with some humor for comfort the story impacts the reader with an astounding depth of emotions. I enjoyed the book to the point that the story will stay with me for some time….
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
From the very first page I fell in love with The Death of Bees, the debut novel of Lisa O’Donnell. Fifteen year old Marnie decides not to report the death of her parents and instead she and her sister, eleven year old Nellie, bury them in the back garden. The girls do not want to be separated or go into foster care. They tell everyone that their parents have gone to Turkey and this lie is easily accepted as the parents are druggies that have left their children alone before. The girls are haunted by their experience and while Nellie has nightmares, Marnie takes to drinking, and casual sex. Eventually the girls are befriended by Lennie, the elderly gay man next door and these three, along with Bobby the dog, bond together as a family. All is well until their grandfather shows up demanding explanations and wanting the girls to come live with him.

One of the things I absolutely loved about this book were the voices of the two girls, Marne in her own way was sensible and practical with very modern sensibilities while Nellie was romantic, hilarious and old-fashioned. What was very clear was that these girls loved and cared about each other. Although rather gruesome in places, the author had a light, sympathetic style and although the subject matter was at times appalling there was an element of black humor that made this story really appealing to me.

While this book won’t appeal to everyone, it was a stellar read for me. I found it both original and imaginative. My emotions were quickly engaged and The Death of Bees became a book that I couldn’t put down and one of my favorite reads of 2016. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | May 14, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lisa O'Donnellprimary authorall editionscalculated
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:48 -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)

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