The Honey Bus
An extraordinary story of a girl, her grandfather and one of nature’s most mysterious and beguiling creatures: the honeybee. Meredith May recalls the first time a honeybee crawled on her arm. She was five years old, her parents had recently split and suddenly she found herself in the care of her grandfather, an eccentric beekeeper who made honey in a rusty old military bus in the yard. That first close encounter was at once terrifying and exhilarating for May, and in that moment she discovered that everything she needed to know about life and family was right before her eyes, in the secret world of bees.May turned to her grandfather and the art of beekeeping as an escape from her troubled reality. Her mother had receded into a volatile cycle of neurosis and despair and spent most days locked away in the bedroom. It was during this pivotal time in May’s childhood that she learned to take care of herself, forged an unbreakable bond with her grandfather and opened her eyes to the magic and wisdom of nature.The bees became a guiding force in May’s life, teaching her about family and community, loyalty and survival and the unequivocal relationship between a mother and her child. Part memoir, part beekeeping odyssey, The Honey Bus is an unforgettable story about finding home in the most unusual of places, and how a tiny, little-understood insect could save a life.

The Honey Bus Details

TitleThe Honey Bus
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 2nd, 2019
PublisherPark Row
ISBN-139780778307785
Rating
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Biography, Biography Memoir

The Honey Bus Review

  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to HARLEQUIN-Trade Publishing-Park Row for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.This is a wonderful book about a girl growing up in the seventies amidst family upheaval and discord. As the book begins, Meredith and her little brother Matt are living in Rhode Island with their parents. The tension between the parents is so thick you can cut it with a knife. However, it is the simmering violent anger from the mother that is particularly unsettling. Following a final explosive a Thank you to HARLEQUIN-Trade Publishing-Park Row for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.This is a wonderful book about a girl growing up in the seventies amidst family upheaval and discord. As the book begins, Meredith and her little brother Matt are living in Rhode Island with their parents. The tension between the parents is so thick you can cut it with a knife. However, it is the simmering violent anger from the mother that is particularly unsettling. Following a final explosive argument, the Mom packs up the kids and they board an airplane to California where their grandparents live in Big Sur. Mom Sally arrives at her parents' house, once again taking over her childhood bedroom. As the weeks, months and years go by, Sally retreats into her bedroom where she sleeps, smokes and lets her mom (Granny) and stepdad (Grandpa) tend to her kids- shirking all responsibility.Granny is a schoolteacher and a little more stiff and formal when rearing her grandkids. However, Grandpa is another story. When Meredith is faced with the unhealthy and odd behavior of her unfit mother, she is literally saved by the loving, wise and gentle nature of her Grandpa. While Meredith is mentally (and occasionally physically) abused by her mother Sally, she finds comfort and ease in the presence of Grandpa. Everything makes sense around Grandpa, and Meredith can just...be. Meredith's grandparents live in a little red house, but nearby on the property there is an old military bus. Inside, Grandpa has painstakingly rigged it as a honey bottling operation. Little by little, Grandpa tells Meredith all about the working of the bee hives he maintains here on the property and others miles away in Garrapata Canyon. The very sensible and cooperative work environment of the bees are a marvel to observe, and Meredith is totally enchanted by them. Where Meredith finds chaos with her mother, she finds peace and a system of perfect sense in the life cycle of the bees. Over time Meredith (and later, her little brother Matt) became adept helpers to Grandpa with his beehives, as he manned a lucrative business providing honey to regular customers. There were a few truly horrific passages of abusive behavior on the rare occasions mom Sally attempted to take the kids on outings, and they were only for selfish motives. There were also frustrating reactions from Sally's mother who seemed to only placate her daughter in an attempt to make her calm. In the end, it was the grounded and quiet wisdom of Meredith's Grandpa who counseled her just to appease her mother until she was old enough to make her own life. I learned so much about bees reading this book, and I am truly amazed at their clever and logical working environment. I was so intrigued by what I'd learned that it inspired me to watch YouTube videos about bees! Yes, in the end Meredith was truly saved by her Grandpa, the honey bus and bees. This is a true story, a heartfelt memoir which made it ever more special to read.
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    I usually never gravitate towards reading memoirs but something hit home when I saw this cover and was intrigued.I can tell you... I felt so at home in my heart and soul through this book! I'm so glad that I took a chance on this book because it truly was a beautifully written story about pain, grief, and the power of love despite coming from a dysfunctional family.Meredith and her brother Matthew grew up in a very dysfunctional family net. Both of Meredith's parents broke up in the beginning re I usually never gravitate towards reading memoirs but something hit home when I saw this cover and was intrigued.I can tell you... I felt so at home in my heart and soul through this book! I'm so glad that I took a chance on this book because it truly was a beautifully written story about pain, grief, and the power of love despite coming from a dysfunctional family.Meredith and her brother Matthew grew up in a very dysfunctional family net. Both of Meredith's parents broke up in the beginning resulting in Meredith and her brother moving to California to live with their grandparents. Meredith grew up with the loss of a father figure by her side but soon formed an unbreakable bond with her step grandfather.Meredith's grandfather was a bee keeper and Meredith soon grew fascinated with her grandfather's stories of bees. Her grandfather used bees and the complexity of nature to help Meredith grow and thrive through her pain as a child. Meredith's mother was extremely absent and emotionally abusive to her growing up as a child into a teenager.Meredith beautifully interweaves her memoir about the complexity of pain, love, growth, forgiveness, strength, and grief through nature and honeybees. I was blown out of the water with the symbolism and beauty behind these pages. I truly enjoyed this memoir and Meredith's story of her being saved by honeybees! Powerful and uplifting!!4.5 honey stars!!Huge thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin/Park Row for the arc in exchange for my honest review.Publication date: 4/2/19Published to Goodreads: 1/20/19
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  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    January 1, 1970
    When Meredith was 5, her parents separated and she moved with her mother and brother to her maternal grandparents' home. Her grandfather the beekeeper introduces her to the world of honeybees. It is a comforting, rural memoir and bees have great metaphor potential that the author utilizes through her Grandpa's voice. Research on bees runs throughout with a somewhat sad epilogue combining her grandfather's aging with the bee crisis. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGal When Meredith was 5, her parents separated and she moved with her mother and brother to her maternal grandparents' home. Her grandfather the beekeeper introduces her to the world of honeybees. It is a comforting, rural memoir and bees have great metaphor potential that the author utilizes through her Grandpa's voice. Research on bees runs throughout with a somewhat sad epilogue combining her grandfather's aging with the bee crisis. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. It came out April 2, 2019.
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  • Mike Sumner
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone should read The Honey Bus, a parable for our time, a beautifully composed memoir of, for the most part, a young girl - Meredith May - who, with her younger brother Matthew, experiences the despair of a broken home, separated parents and a dysfunctional mother. Moved away from their father and Rhode Island to live with grandparents in California. Step-grandpa is a beekeeper, has been for many years. A fount of knowledge about honey bees and their invaluable contribution to life. Uses an Everyone should read The Honey Bus, a parable for our time, a beautifully composed memoir of, for the most part, a young girl - Meredith May - who, with her younger brother Matthew, experiences the despair of a broken home, separated parents and a dysfunctional mother. Moved away from their father and Rhode Island to live with grandparents in California. Step-grandpa is a beekeeper, has been for many years. A fount of knowledge about honey bees and their invaluable contribution to life. Uses an old military bus converted for use to harvest honey. Meredith is captivated and comes to learn everything about the husbandry of bees from grandpa, who loves her and her brother, unconditionally. Meredith's personality will be shaped by the life lessons learned in a bee yard. Every child should have that same opportunity to grow.A story of love, hope, despair, redemption - a wake up call to help honey bees live closer to the way nature intended - bees that are threatened with Varroa destructor and a host of newer diseases such as Nosema gut pathogen and the Slow Bee Paralysis virus.Meredith does her small part - she owes her Grandpa at least that much to continue his work - and she owes it to the bees...The Honey Bus has left a lasting impression on me and has been an education about the vital need for us to help honey bees survive. Without them we are lost...The highest possible recommendation from me. I urge you to read The Honey Bus.My thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.
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  • Linden
    January 1, 1970
    Why do I keep gravitating to depressing dysfunctional childhood memoirs? Could someone please remind me to step away? This is the story of Meredith, whose parents divorced when she was a child, and her mother took her and her little brother to live in California with Granny and Grandpa. Mom was useless, Granny was strict, but Grandpa loved the kids and taught them all about his hives, and about the bees who inhabited them.
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  • Michael Cayley
    January 1, 1970
    This is a cross between a memoir of a difficult childhood and a hymn to the honeybee.Meredith and her brother Matthew come to California with their unstable mother following the breakup of their parents’ marriage, to stay with grandparents. Grandfather is a passionate beekeeper, and in bees Meredith finds solace without sentimentality, as she discovers the intricate social life of bees, with both its cooperation and its capacity for ruthlessness.Much of the book is taken up with superb accounts This is a cross between a memoir of a difficult childhood and a hymn to the honeybee.Meredith and her brother Matthew come to California with their unstable mother following the breakup of their parents’ marriage, to stay with grandparents. Grandfather is a passionate beekeeper, and in bees Meredith finds solace without sentimentality, as she discovers the intricate social life of bees, with both its cooperation and its capacity for ruthlessness.Much of the book is taken up with superb accounts of that social life, seen through a child’s eyes. There are warnings of the threats to bees, which have worsened since Meredith’s childhood.This is a book to savour, both as natural history and as a depiction of a young girl learning to survive and make the best of things in very painful family surroundings.With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me have an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Missy Block
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully written memoir about Meredith, a child that not only learns to survive a dysfunctional mother, but learns thru the eloquent life of bees and the wisdom of her beekeeping grandfather how to navigate beyond the circumstances she was given. I fell into this book on page one and connected so deeply to Meredith and her Grandpa, that I couldn’t put the book down until I knew where their journey led them. While their personal story captured my heart, the plight of the honey bees gripped m A beautifully written memoir about Meredith, a child that not only learns to survive a dysfunctional mother, but learns thru the eloquent life of bees and the wisdom of her beekeeping grandfather how to navigate beyond the circumstances she was given. I fell into this book on page one and connected so deeply to Meredith and her Grandpa, that I couldn’t put the book down until I knew where their journey led them. While their personal story captured my heart, the plight of the honey bees gripped my curiosity to the point I needed to re read some of the informational parts to wrap my brain around it all.
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  • Sally Boocock
    January 1, 1970
    One of the most touching books I have ever read. It will stay with me for a long long time. As well as being biographical it is so informative about bees and how important they are to our survival. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Everyone should read it.
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  • Glen
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a goodreads drawing.The memoir of a woman who, as a girl went to live with her grandparents when her parents split up. Her grandfather was a bee keeper, and kept hives in an old abandoned bus. Keeping bees teach her life lessons.A look at a life that could be sad, but is instead hopeful.
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  • KC
    January 1, 1970
    This captivating memoir is part coming-of-age family drama and part intro to bees 101. After her parents divorce, five year-old Meredith, her mom and younger brother relocate from Rhode Island to California to live with her grandparents. While tiptoeing around her despondent yet volatile mother, Meredith becomes fascinated with her Grandfathers bees, their hives and their behavior paralleling between human life and bee life. What you take away from The Honey Bus is that family can be complicated This captivating memoir is part coming-of-age family drama and part intro to bees 101. After her parents divorce, five year-old Meredith, her mom and younger brother relocate from Rhode Island to California to live with her grandparents. While tiptoeing around her despondent yet volatile mother, Meredith becomes fascinated with her Grandfathers bees, their hives and their behavior paralleling between human life and bee life. What you take away from The Honey Bus is that family can be complicated, messy and beautiful often at the same time. For those who enjoyed My Abandonment by Peter Rock.
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  • Shirley Cagle
    January 1, 1970
    I simply could not put this book down. The juxtaposition of the two small children effectively abandoned by their parents and the caring, patient step-grandfather was in turns jarring and joyous. The twining of beekeeping tidbits and the step-grandfather’s love into the story of Meredith’s childhood provided a respite from what would have been a very sad tale.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Five-year-old Meredith and three-year old Matthew are moved from the east coast and removed from the father whom they love by their unstable and unbalanced mother who takes the three of them to Big Sur on the West Coast and to her parents’ home for a “vacation.” It becomes apparent that the vacation is permanent as it stretches into years. Sally, their mother climbs into bed and stays there, reading movie magazines and watching television, leaving her children to their grandparents.It’s through Five-year-old Meredith and three-year old Matthew are moved from the east coast and removed from the father whom they love by their unstable and unbalanced mother who takes the three of them to Big Sur on the West Coast and to her parents’ home for a “vacation.” It becomes apparent that the vacation is permanent as it stretches into years. Sally, their mother climbs into bed and stays there, reading movie magazines and watching television, leaving her children to their grandparents.It’s through the wisdom and love from Grandpa Frank that Meredith learns about family through beekeeping. Grandpa has bee hives in many locations throughout the area and the Honey Bus is a converted military bus turned into a workroom where he processes hundreds of jars of honey for sale. Meredith becomes his shadow and learns about the social structures in a hive, how the bees follow the queen because they can’t live without her. She realizes that “even bees needed their mother.” She followed her grandpa everywhere, climbing into his pickup in the mornings, going to work with him to the bee yards of Big Sur, where she learned that “a beehive revolved around one principle—the family.” She knew it wasn’t normal for a mother to permanently withdraw but it was through Grandpa and bees that she understood what Grandpa had been trying to explain inside the bus—“that beautiful things don’t come to those who simply wish for them. You have to work hard and take risks to be rewarded.” She also learned that rather than withdrawing from living like her mother had done, “honeybees made themselves essential through their generosity.” This memoir is Meredith’s journey, through hard work and with the support of the family that her grandparents and her friend Sophia provided, from a little girl to a college student. Grandpa explains to her that while he is her step grandpa, that only means she has two. One of my favorite moments in the book is when he draws Meredith and Matthew into a hug, and explains that since he and Ruth hadn’t married until he was 40, he just assumed he would never have children. “Then, lucky for me, you two showed up.” It was a tissue moment. We learn near the end the why of Sally’s behavior and why Ruth lets her get away with it, but if I told you...well, who needs a spoiler alert?! I absolutely loved this book, and I do remember when the San Francisco Chronicle put bee hives on their roof.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favorite reads of 2019 so far. May's memoir is about growing up in a dysfunctional series of homes and how she came to find beekeeping a way of not only working through her familial challenges but also as a means of finding hope.When she was young, May's parents went through a messy divorce following her mother's outbursts and abuse toward her father. Her mother took her and her brother from their home in Rhode Island to the home of her grandparents in Big Sur, California. Mom disappea One of my favorite reads of 2019 so far. May's memoir is about growing up in a dysfunctional series of homes and how she came to find beekeeping a way of not only working through her familial challenges but also as a means of finding hope.When she was young, May's parents went through a messy divorce following her mother's outbursts and abuse toward her father. Her mother took her and her brother from their home in Rhode Island to the home of her grandparents in Big Sur, California. Mom disappeared into herself, leaving May and her brother to grow up under the watch of a demanding and unfriendly grandmother and a man that they only ever know as their grandfather -- a kind, generous, loving man who had a penchant for beekeeping and encouraged May to join him while he taught her about the ins and outs of the honeybees. This man was not May's grandfather by blood though; he was a step-grandfather, and the discovery of this unravels into the history of abuse that plagued her family for generations. May's father never quite reemerges except for one excellent trip back to Rhode Island for her, and her mother becomes more abusive toward her as she grows up. There is a lot of fear and anger throughout the story, but it's tempered beautifully with the magic of bees and May's grandfather. We can't rank dysfunction, but the level of fear and terror in this memoir isn't as pronounced as EDUCATED or THE GLASS CASTLE, but readers who find those books to be captivating will find this to be one worth picking up. May's writing is stunning, and her passion for bees comes through, both in her own voice and in the voice of that unbelievable grandfather in her life. I grew up in a family that, although not like May's, was one where I found myself close with my grandfather, too, so this one hit home in a lot of ways. It's a lovely homage to the people in our lives who give us hope and love, even when we don't know we need it. Likewise, the naturalist aspects of beekeeping and the incredible power bees have in the world made this bee-lover satisfied. The bulk of this book happens during May's childhood and teenage years, so it's totally appropriate for teens who eat up these kinds of true life stories. I'll be talking about this one some more soon. It's a winner.
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  • Ginni Brinkley
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Harlequin UK, Meredith May and Netgalley for the ARC in return for an unbiased review.I probably wouldn’t have come across The Honey Bus without an email from Netgalley, but I’m so glad I did. Meredith and Matthew’s parents broke up messily, and their mother took them across the country to live with her mother and stepfather. The origins of their mother’s long lasting mental illness and depression aren’t revealed until near the end of the book, but she takes little part in parenting Thank you to Harlequin UK, Meredith May and Netgalley for the ARC in return for an unbiased review.I probably wouldn’t have come across The Honey Bus without an email from Netgalley, but I’m so glad I did. Meredith and Matthew’s parents broke up messily, and their mother took them across the country to live with her mother and stepfather. The origins of their mother’s long lasting mental illness and depression aren’t revealed until near the end of the book, but she takes little part in parenting them beyond keeping them alive, and most of the day to day stuff is done by their grandmother. However, it’s Grandpa, the beekeeper, who becomes their real haven, teaching them life lessons through observing and working with his hives of honeybees. His hives at home and in Big Sur, and the Honey Bus, a rigged up honey extraction plant in an old military bus, are Meredith’s sanctuary from her dysfunctional home life. The narrative about the bees is enchanting, and as comforting as their contented hum on a summer’s day as they go from plant to plant collecting pollen. The detail is fascinating, the world of bees is revealed and lauded, those clever creatures who do everything for good reasons, and whose survival is so important to our own. The end message that we all need to step up and play our part to ensure these wonderful creatures survive and thrive is well made, and more poignant for being entirely non fictional (unlike films like Bee Movie).I hope Meredith will be pleased to know that I’ve added a craft activity into both my children’s and youth club programmes to make wildflower seed bombs as an act of pro-bee guerrilla gardening.
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  • Janis
    January 1, 1970
    May’s childhood was an unenviable one – after her parents divorced, her unfit and dysfunctional mother brought May and her brother to live at the home of their uncaring grandmother. Thankfully, this ugly family cycle was broken by her step-grandfather, a kind and observant man who kept bees in Carmel Valley and processed honey in a rattletrap bus in his backyard. May’s memoir is a tribute to this good man, who offered her love and a glimpse of a different life – and to the bees and the natural w May’s childhood was an unenviable one – after her parents divorced, her unfit and dysfunctional mother brought May and her brother to live at the home of their uncaring grandmother. Thankfully, this ugly family cycle was broken by her step-grandfather, a kind and observant man who kept bees in Carmel Valley and processed honey in a rattletrap bus in his backyard. May’s memoir is a tribute to this good man, who offered her love and a glimpse of a different life – and to the bees and the natural world. She folds her growing knowledge of bee behavior into her narrative, and shares the lessons she learned from them. In the end, hers is a hopeful and touching personal story and a paean to the remarkable nature of bees. Look for this book in early April.
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  • Missy
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of the best memoirs I've read. Meredith tells her story from the point of view of the healthy adult she has become. Thanks to the love of her grandfather, she was able to learn what family is supposed to be.And the story is full of fascinating facts about bees! They have a lot to teach us about how to work in society.I highly recommend this uplifting story.I was provided an ARC by #NetGalley
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  • Penelope
    January 1, 1970
    A powerful and inspiring book which is beautiful and utterly heartfelt. I haven't been so moved by a book in a long while and finished this with a lump in my throat. A wonderful story of bees, family, heartbreak and love. Utterly wonderful!
  • Jess
    January 1, 1970
    The Honey Bus could be called the Beloved or the Dear Bus and I wouldn't have batted a lash for how deep Meredith May delves into what it is to be loved (or not loved) and what it is to take sanctuary in loving (bees, honey, work). This is a perfectly-paced, gorgeous memoir, and a tribute to May's Grandpa and May's ability to conjure bitter and sweet from her childhood in scenes you'll feel like you witnessed or participated in. This memoir moved me. I tasted the ghost of honey on my tongue and The Honey Bus could be called the Beloved or the Dear Bus and I wouldn't have batted a lash for how deep Meredith May delves into what it is to be loved (or not loved) and what it is to take sanctuary in loving (bees, honey, work). This is a perfectly-paced, gorgeous memoir, and a tribute to May's Grandpa and May's ability to conjure bitter and sweet from her childhood in scenes you'll feel like you witnessed or participated in. This memoir moved me. I tasted the ghost of honey on my tongue and felt the spectre of Big Sur salt-spray on my cheeks. I learned a lot about beekeeping. And I read that it is possible to survive abuse, and that sadness happens. That sometimes you need to take care of yourself, and sometimes you need to be like a scout bee and find the perfect home - because family is important whatever your true family winds up beng. That family isn't always defined by bloodline. Highly recommended for just about anybody!
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  • Leslie Lindsay
    January 1, 1970
    A glowing, powerful memoir about one girl's courage to overcome her mother's dysfunction under the tutelage of her bee keeper grandfather. I was absolutely entranced by THE HONEY BUS (HarperCollins/Park Row April 3), which is a memoir at heart, but so much more. Meredith May is 5 when her parents divorce and she, her mother, and younger brother leave Rhode Island for California where May's grandparents live. The setting--Big Sur, Carmel, and the Palo Colorado Canyon--oh! I could taste the sea sa A glowing, powerful memoir about one girl's courage to overcome her mother's dysfunction under the tutelage of her bee keeper grandfather. I was absolutely entranced by THE HONEY BUS (HarperCollins/Park Row April 3), which is a memoir at heart, but so much more. Meredith May is 5 when her parents divorce and she, her mother, and younger brother leave Rhode Island for California where May's grandparents live. The setting--Big Sur, Carmel, and the Palo Colorado Canyon--oh! I could taste the sea salt, smell the wild sage and eucalyptus. These sensory details were like a warm, languid summer's day. But things weren't all that great for Meredith and her younger brother, Matthew. Living with their maternal grandparents in a small home was tense. Meredith had to share a bed with her highly dysfunctional and despondent mother. Still, she had something--and someone--her rugged and caring grandfather, Frank, a beekeeper.Through a very touching narrative, Meredith leads readers through the 'honey bus,' and we experience, through her young eyes, the miraculous abilities of bees. Part 'bee-keeping 101,' THE HONEY BUS is about the wisdom and magic of nature, how sometimes other things can save us when we're drowning, and the tender relationship of a girl and her grandfather. I found this story so warm and touching. I loved the grandfather--and saw glimpses of my own--a stirring and ultimately uplifting story. I did want to know a little more about why the parent's divorced and I also wanted to know a little more about the mother's volatile moods, her depression and dysfunction (this is touched on some, but I guess I wanted more--could just be me). There's sweetness in the end--growth, forgiveness, strength, and love--but it's a little bittersweet, too. Absolutely a powerful and uplifting tale and I learned so much! THE HONEY BUS reminded me a bit of WILD (Cheryl Strayed), maybe because of the California/Pacific Coast connection and also the mother-daughter dynamics, but also a touch of BLACKBIRD (Jennifer Lauck) for the child-like innocence and family dynamics. Perhaps, too, THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES (Sue Monk Kidd)For all my reviews, including author interviews, please see: www.leslielindsay.com|Always with a BookSpecial thanks to HarperCollins/Park Row Books for this review copy. All thoughts are my own.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    I am, more than a little bit, in awe of this extraordinary memoir. It is beautifully written, brutally honest, funny and heartbreaking. As the sub-title says, it is a memoir of loss, courage and a girl saved by (honey) bees.Meredith is five years old when her parents separate and her mother takes her and her brother to live with their grandparents in the Big Sur, California. Her mother is suffering from mental illness and Meredith’s grandmother is complicit in disguising this issue. This leaves I am, more than a little bit, in awe of this extraordinary memoir. It is beautifully written, brutally honest, funny and heartbreaking. As the sub-title says, it is a memoir of loss, courage and a girl saved by (honey) bees.Meredith is five years old when her parents separate and her mother takes her and her brother to live with their grandparents in the Big Sur, California. Her mother is suffering from mental illness and Meredith’s grandmother is complicit in disguising this issue. This leaves Meredith confused, perplexed and disturbed by her mother’s outbursts, both physical and verbal. She tries very hard not to upset her mother but isn’t always successful. The poor child grew up walking on eggshells and I really felt for her. Meredith finds comfort and solace in the company of her grandpa and his bee hives. She gradually understands the ways of the bees, how they protect each other and work together for the good of the hive. Through this understanding she comes to find some peace in the dysfunctional life she has been leading. There are some pointed analogies with human society.The conversations between Meredith and her grandpa are touching and the narrative about the lives of the bees is truly emotive. The descriptions of the countryside had me smelling sage, eucalyptus and spring flowers. The reasons for Meredith’s mother’s mental distress come late in the book and whilst they don’t exonerate her, they lead to a sad understanding of why she was that way.This is a lovely book, despite the sadness it contains. Meredith’s resilience and humour about her situation are so impressive. She has my deepest respect. This is one of my books of the year.Save the bees!I received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley and HQ Stories in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    There is much to like about this memoir. The grandfather is such a wise and nurturing figure to two struggling children of recently divorced parents that his presence almost makes up for their dysfunctional mother and grandmother. The information shared about keeping bees and bee needs and habits is both interesting and important to those concerned about the wholesale deaths of our bee colonies. One of the aspects that I had trouble with was the portrayal of the author as a 6 year old able to wo There is much to like about this memoir. The grandfather is such a wise and nurturing figure to two struggling children of recently divorced parents that his presence almost makes up for their dysfunctional mother and grandmother. The information shared about keeping bees and bee needs and habits is both interesting and important to those concerned about the wholesale deaths of our bee colonies. One of the aspects that I had trouble with was the portrayal of the author as a 6 year old able to work sunrise to sunset processing honey. It seems implausible for a child of that age to have an attention span of that length. Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin for the ARC to read and review.
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  • Lel Budge
    January 1, 1970
    This is a lovely piece of modern classic fiction, the tale of young Meredith and her brother who move to stay with the grandparents after their parents marriage breaks down.Their mother is troubled and Meredith finds comfort with her grandfather and his beloved bees.This is also an homage to the humble bee, it’s lifestyle and why we need these little creatures.A story of life in a dysfunctional family and how resilient children can be with a little help. Wonderfully descriptive and emotional wri This is a lovely piece of modern classic fiction, the tale of young Meredith and her brother who move to stay with the grandparents after their parents marriage breaks down.Their mother is troubled and Meredith finds comfort with her grandfather and his beloved bees.This is also an homage to the humble bee, it’s lifestyle and why we need these little creatures.A story of life in a dysfunctional family and how resilient children can be with a little help. Wonderfully descriptive and emotional writing.I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    Truly a beautiful and fascinating recollection of May's childhood.The memoir starts with my worst fear happening to Meredith - bees getting caught in my hair. I was pulled in right away, and was continuously gripped by her descriptions of time spent with honeybees and her grandfather. Meredith grieves the loss of her sense of family, her childhood, and understanding of the world around her. The lessons Meredith and her brother Matthew learn in this book will be carried away with whoever reads it Truly a beautiful and fascinating recollection of May's childhood.The memoir starts with my worst fear happening to Meredith - bees getting caught in my hair. I was pulled in right away, and was continuously gripped by her descriptions of time spent with honeybees and her grandfather. Meredith grieves the loss of her sense of family, her childhood, and understanding of the world around her. The lessons Meredith and her brother Matthew learn in this book will be carried away with whoever reads it. I felt myself grieve and grow with her.Thank you to HARLEQUIN Trade Publishing for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley!3.5 stars: At times it felt like the book wasn't sure if it wanted to be a memoir or a fact book about bees, but captivating nevertheless.Publication date: 4/2/19Review date: 3/31/19
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  • Diane Les
    January 1, 1970
    This is an absolutely lovely, tender memoir that captures the formative years of the author. We see May as a young girl, whose lessons in love are shown to her through the gentleness of her step-grandfather, and whose life lessons and wisdom she receives through the beautiful metaphor of the fascinating community of bees. I loved learning about bees, about their different roles, their relationships with each other, their work habits - miraculous. And I cried for young May and the enormous defici This is an absolutely lovely, tender memoir that captures the formative years of the author. We see May as a young girl, whose lessons in love are shown to her through the gentleness of her step-grandfather, and whose life lessons and wisdom she receives through the beautiful metaphor of the fascinating community of bees. I loved learning about bees, about their different roles, their relationships with each other, their work habits - miraculous. And I cried for young May and the enormous deficit of love in her life, the gaping emptiness from a mother who abandoned her children, even though she continued to live with them under the same roof, and I rallied in May's courage and resilience. I was hungry for more when the book finished, as I wanted a better glimpse into adult May's life and how these lessons from her childhood carried forward.
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  • Carolyn Stover
    January 1, 1970
    A beautiful memoir, about surviving, hope and bees. May's grandfather provides love and stability and a wealth of knowledge of bees. It's about moving ahead and appreciating what one has, not what's missing. I'll never look at a honey bee or appreciate the taste of honey again without remembering this story.
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  • Calvin
    January 1, 1970
    This is a gem of a book that I could not wait to get back to each time I had a few spare minutes. The writing is smooth in style, never jarring, tilting along maintaining interest in the central character and intriguing and informing in equal measure with wonderful 'life of bees' detail. I say informing, though as a backyard beekeeper of five hives myself I knew all the facts sprinkled generously across the book, nevertheless to read them in the very personal journal of Meredith May was wonderfu This is a gem of a book that I could not wait to get back to each time I had a few spare minutes. The writing is smooth in style, never jarring, tilting along maintaining interest in the central character and intriguing and informing in equal measure with wonderful 'life of bees' detail. I say informing, though as a backyard beekeeper of five hives myself I knew all the facts sprinkled generously across the book, nevertheless to read them in the very personal journal of Meredith May was wonderful. In many ways this sums up my attitude to the book, it was like she was sharing secrets all the time, both of her childhood and family struggles and of the bees. In this way the Honey Bus drew the reader in and warmed them with that heady mix of sage and beeswax. Happily this a difficult book to classify in any meaningful way, the happiness comes from its certain wide appeal to men, women, young people and nostalgic. I'll remember the book for a long time, not least of all when I next open the hives and remember little Meredith and her grandpa who I picture as the grandpa from The Waltons of yesteryear. I could not recommend this book highly enough, it's heart warming, inspiring of young people, encouraging those having a hard time fitting in or wondering if they have anything to offer; hopeful, what an antidote to negativity just when you need it most.
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  • Kym Lucas
    January 1, 1970
    If the concept of being "saved" by bees seems odd to you, you need to read this book. The first memoir I've read about bees that adequately expressed how it feels to work with and begin to understand a small portion of their magic.
  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Beekeeping - what an interesting topic for a book. As a farmer, I understand the importance of bees in agriculture, but I learned so much from reading this book. The incredible social structure of a bee colony is enlightening in so many ways and perhaps should be a model for human society. Meredith's family fell apart apart following the divorce of her parents. Moving from the East Coast to California's Big Sur was a jolt for Meredith. Granny's and Grandpa's lives expanded to include Meredith's Beekeeping - what an interesting topic for a book. As a farmer, I understand the importance of bees in agriculture, but I learned so much from reading this book. The incredible social structure of a bee colony is enlightening in so many ways and perhaps should be a model for human society. Meredith's family fell apart apart following the divorce of her parents. Moving from the East Coast to California's Big Sur was a jolt for Meredith. Granny's and Grandpa's lives expanded to include Meredith's and Matthew's mentally ill mother, and her two children. Meredith, as well as her younger brother, five and three at the time of the divorce, were saved by her eccentric grandfather, who was a beekeeper. He saw and understood their needs and did something about it. Granny became focused on her "wounded" daughter, to the exclusion of all else. Because of her relationship with her Grandpa, Meredith was better able to relate to the world around her. Meredith recalled the first time a bee walked up her arm, how delicate yet sturdy it was, and how studied the bee's response was to her and its surroundings. She understood she did not have to be the most popular, the best-dressed. Once she realized college could be a reality, she became as focused on that goal as had Grandpa's bees been focused on their job of making honey. This is such a heart-warming story. Hoping that many people read it and become more familiar with bees and the place they have in the world. Each of us can take a lesson from this book and continue to practice her Grandpa's teachings. I received an ARC from Net Galley.
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  • Andrea Palmer
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! This book was the best kind of read. It was really engaging and told the author's personal story, but it also had a ton of surprising facts about honeybee. I learned a lot, and it was the best book I've read so far this year.
  • Rachel Watkins
    January 1, 1970
    When your parents fail you sometimes a grandparent steps in. Meredith May's beautiful memoir is set in a place dear to my heart: Carmel Valley, California. The life lessons taught by May's grandfather and his honey bees change the trajectory of her life. I am grateful she shared her story.
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