My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
I can’t recall when or where I first saw mention of The History of Bees, but I know I was immediately intrigued by it. Especially with the current situation in the world of bees dying/disappearing in massive quantities.
The idea behind the book, focusing on three different time periods, before, during and after the bees have disappeared, was certainly an interesting way to approach the story, and added a bit of history to it as well.
The book immediately dragged me in with the first chapter. The idea of humans having to climb trees in order to pollinate the flowers to ensure that there would be enough food was such a fantastic way to start things off. I could only imagine how difficult this would be, especially for those who had previously been working other jobs when the bees were still around. This is the job that Tao, one of the three main characters is forced to do. In fact, everyone has to do it, including young children. Tao’s story was by far my favorite of the three within the book.
The story about George, a bee keeper struggling during the collapse of the bees, was also pretty good. I didn’t enjoy it as much as Tao’s, but there were several aspects of his story that made me want to know more. To see how he would manage as the bees began to disappear.
Then there was William’s story. William’s part is in the past, the mid 1800’s when bees are plentiful and there is plenty of research to be done about them. This part of the story I struggled so much to get into. The start of William’s story was as far away from anything about bees as you could get and I honestly questioned why it had been including for quite a few chapters. Even when the focus finally switched to bees, I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t care about him, his fascination with bees or his family. I just wanted to read the other two stories and be done with it.
I will admit that in some ways I was disappointed with this book. I honestly thought that bees, and in Tao’s case the lack there of, would be a major focus of this story, but in the end the book is more about broken families and their struggles to become normal than it is about bees. Bees just happen to be a common factor in all their lives. Other than that, they really have no connection. The author did make the stories have a connection in the end, and in a way it made sense, but by then I didn’t feel like they needed a connection.
I was torn on what rating to give this book. I kept waffling between 2.5 and 3 stars. Eventually I settled on 3 stars just because of Tao’s story. It was really the best things about the whole book.
I’m sure that there are many people out there who would love this book, so if you have considered reading it, then I say go for it. You will never know whether you will like it or not based on another opinions, you just have to read it and find out for yourself.