When Meredith and her brother are transplanted from Rhode Island to California in the 1970s, the world of honeybees and beekeeping become unexpected saviours in their unstable circumstances. 'Gramps' introduces Meredith to life in the hive and it is through this knowledge that she begins to understand herself and the people around her.
This is the thoughtful memoir of a troubled childhood, an encouraging demonstration of the healing power of nature and the difference one person can make in a child's life.
We all loved the book. The story of the bees fascinated us, with the parallel story of Meredith discovering the importance of working together and family - wonderful.
Everyone enjoyed this book and some loved it. A few thought there was too much detail about bees but we all learned something about these amazing creatures. Discussion focused on the family relationships and the harm passed through generations with the element of hope brought about by May's relationship with her grandfather and his bees. Easy to read.
A good read. Bees are fascinating creatures and we now know more about them than we ever thought possible! Childhood was hard for Meredith, but her grandfather and the bees were a calming influence.
We all enjoyed the book. Loved all the stories of the bees - none of us realised it was a memoir until the end!
Some found the volatile relationship within the family was very sad. Great story telling about the bees. We all learnt so much about bees one of us wants to take it up as a hobby. Too much of the book was spent on May's youth, and more should have been spent on her adult years. Easy read overall.
This book generated a lot of discussion around the intergenerational relationships, and we all loved the relationship May had with her grandfather, but also struggled with how May and her brother were treated by her mother and grandmother. The facts about bees were too much sometimes but overall most enjoyed learning more about bees.
The majority of the group really enjoyed this book. They learnt a lot about honeybees and the story evoked good discussion. A few felt that what the author said she felt as a young child, was more adult than a child would think at that age. Overall an interesting book.
Enjoyed very much by all of our group. Should be read by all ages.
There was quite a discussion in the Group re the grading of 'The Honey Bus'. Everyone enjoyed reading it and felt much more knowledgeable about honeybees and their habitat. Whilst half of us feel that the author had been successful in combining the world of bees with her childhood recollections, others were not as interested in the emotional aspects of the story. Our discussion was dynamic, touching on much from our own growing years.
We ALL loved this book. A well-written story.
A book much enjoyed by all. The details about bees were fascinating. Unfortunately because of lockdown we couldn't meet to discuss the book as there was so much we could have explored.
Best book of the year! This book sparked the best discussion on the incredible nature of bees, intergenerational trauma, and the power of positive loving relationships to heal. A beautiful story of love and resilience.
The members really enjoyed reading about the life of the bees and how the grandfather in his gentle way helped May understand the family dynamics. We felt sad for May's situation, and aware of the importance of the relationship she had with her grandfather. It was hard to read how the mother and grandmother did not protect the children, both from out of their own distress and trauma. Some of us felt that the author did not always write from a child's perspective, and that her adult experiences coloured her perspective, but overall a book o be recommended.
All enjoyed it, and found the questions elicited a good discussion around mental illness, family, stress, the memoir style, and bees!
A great read and only afterwards realized it was a memoir. Really like the information about bees and their communities. The lack of help for the daughter with depression was sad, but the wonderful grandfather and his relationship with his grand daughter was inspirational.
This book touched one of our readers so much that she communicated with the author! We all loved the bee theme and learnt heaps.
Animated discussion. Everyone enjoyed the book. Such a dysfunctional family, saved by the wonderful grandfather and his bees.
This generated lots of discussion around the relationship between the grandmother, mother and granddaughter. Very polarising storyline for our group. Overall our favourite book, and we loved the grandfather, granddaughter storyline.
We all enjoyed learning about the intricate, cooperative life of the bee community, and were less impressed with the human story! But the way that the one influenced the other made a very good read.
Enjoyed by all the members. A great insight into the life of bees, and the devastating effect mental abuse can have on a growing individual.
All enjoyed this memoir.
Everyone enjoyed this book - a great summer read.
As each reader got into the book and realised it was a memoir, it affected the way it was perceived. Some found the detail about bees too involved, but most thought it was informative and interesting. All our group were moved by the sadness of the lives of the main characters, and amazed at the fortitude of the writer. Altogether a positive response.
10/12 of our members rated this 5 stars. The combination and the relationship of the life of bees and the life of Meredith was terrific. And the writing is superb. Highly recommended to other groups.