Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Honey Bus - Book Review

Read an Excerpt
Honey has long been known as the elixir of life.  For Meredith May, a young child whose life had been turned upside down and inside out by parental discord, the miraculous powers of honey, bees, and her beekeeper grandfather would be a vital lifeline.  To read Meredith's memoir, The Honey Bus, is to be mesmerized by how honeybees took the raw material of a confused girl and turned her into something golden.

At five years of age, May found herself uprooted from everything familiar.  Due to the divorce of her parents, Meredith and her brother were suddenly moved cross-country to live with their grandfather in California.  This was an incredibly upsetting, and confusing, turn of events.  For May, things no longer made sense, as no one had explained what was happening.  To make matters worse, her mother barricaded herself behind a bedroom door, and entered a seemingly endless season of child abandonment.

Sensing the need for connection, nurturing, and something to fill the deep hole in his granddaughter's psyche, Franklin Peace began to introduce Meredith to the wonders of beekeeping.  That journey began with a flurry of bee stings—which would terrorize most children.  Counter to what one might expect, the temporary pain of that surprise attack by swarming bees built up a kind of immunity to the deeper sting of feeling alone in the world.

Like a bee drawn to honey, May's curiosity about the rusty old Army bus in her grandfather's back yard was not to be denied.  The ramshackle honey bus was the object of Meredith's great desire.  She longed to be granted entry into that portal, for she knew that magical things happened inside her grandfather's top secret laboratory.  On the day when she was finally deemed old enough for a membership into the honey bus's secret society, May's joy knew no bounds.

As her grandfather's beekeeping apprentice, Meredith not only entered into the fantastical world of honeybees, but more importantly, she found her forever family.
Bees need the warmth of family.  Alone, a single bee isn't likely to make it through the night.  A beehive revolves around one principle—the family.  I knew that gnawing need for a family.
May's sage, quietly unassuming grandfather used the language of bees to reveal the ancient ways that were relevant to learning how to persevere through collective strength.  As she fed off of this Way of the Bees, Meredith learned all that she could not learn from her birth parents.  It was the bees that were, in essence, raising her.  From them, the author gained insight into compassion and how to thrive by caring for others. 



In following Meredith through the mystical portal into honeybee society, we find ourselves joining in the dance of the bees.  You will revel in the poetry of what it is to be in the presence of sacred creatures that exist for the greater good.  The artistry of Meredith May's writing was, to this reader, the sweetest of nectars.

Just as honeybees make themselves essential through their generosity, this book is essential reading in that it gives us what we need to enter into the bee's state of grace.  Bees give far more than they ever take.  Spending time in The Honey Bus has given me the desire to be more of what someone else might need right now.  And, perhaps, that is the true elixir of life.









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16 comments:

  1. Okay Diana, you have done it again. I'm dropping the book I am currently reading and getting on your Honey Bus. My son-in-law is a beekeeper and I know that there is "magic" involved with looking after these denizens of the garden and beyond. I can imagine that there are many lessons that humans can learn from the work ethic and ties of the honey bee and their family. We need to open our eyes and our hearts to learn all that Mother Nature wants to teach us. Thanks for this one!

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    1. This is a book I would drop everything for. You're going to love it. I have pages of notes and quotations from my read (and I don't do that for many books). I love that you have a beekeeper in the family. It is something I have long wanted to do.

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  2. It sounds like a lovely book to read with lots of gems of wisdom. Honey bees have never been a part of my world, but your description has given me a glimpse inside the honeycomb. Family, giving, working together, are all important. How awesome that Meredith had her grandfather and the honey bees there for her.

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    1. Though I have done much reading about honeybees, this story made the magic of their essence come alive in new ways. Knowing they are essential to our quality of life is one thing. Connecting with their brilliance and artistry is an entirely different thing. Bees embody the values I know you hold dear. And, yes, The Honey Bus overflows with the kind of wisdom that is so needed in today's world. For the reader with an open heart, this story will generate the kind of connections that truly matter.

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  3. This book sounds wonderful...your review has really intriqued me. Can't wait to read it!

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    1. Thanks, Mary Beth. This could be a good one for your book club. Enjoy!

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  4. A very appropriate and perfect time for this book review to be published, as yesterday, May 20, was World Bee Day (the day Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping, was born in 1734). Reading "The Honey Bus" would be a happy way to celebrate. Plus, from your most excellent review, the story sounds as if it is filled with life lessons to be learned and the importance of family and community.

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    1. Wow! I didn't know about the timing of World Bee Day. How I love synchronicity! I had not originally intended to post this review today. It's like it was meant to be. I'll have to read up on Anton Jansa. Thanks for the lead. I appreciate how you are always up on special days of the year. And yes, so many wonderful life lessons for all of us in The Honey Bus.

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  5. Diana dear, you have an amazing gift for finding books that create strong emotional connections and empathy with others through the author's words, and an equally amazing gift for sharing those experiences in a compelling way through your own beautiful writing. I just finished reading your wonderful review of The Honey Bus and have already used one of my Audible credits to buy the audiobook. I was hoping Meredith May had narrated it herself, but the reviews suggest that the she and her publisher chose someone who has done justice to her work. Thank you so much!

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    1. Your lovely, affirming words raise me up in beautiful ways... ways that make a difference to me. Thank you for being one of those rare and precious individuals who create strong, emotional connections, and who exude the empathy so desperately needed in this world. I cherish these comments and am grateful for them. Will look forward to your reflections about The Honey Bus after you have the opportunity to listen to it.

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  6. This book sounds amazing. I really want to read this because of your review. A beautiful lesson and message indeed from this story of Bees. Wow.

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. It is a really unique and beautiful story. The author is exceptional. I hope you get much out of your read. These lessons will stay with me for a very long time.

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  7. I'm allergic to bee stings so have never tried to have a hive but would if I could. The book sounds amazing and I could easily live vicariously through it. I too had a fantastic grandfather who taught me many lessons using gardening as his medium of teaching, so the genesis of the book really appeals to me. (My parents were not divorced, far from it, but my grandfather took a shine to me early on.) Beautiful review.

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    1. Nothing wrong with living vicariously through another beekeeper. I love that you also had a grandfather with a knack for helping children grow into their full being. I can see this book speaking to you. Good to see you here.

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  8. I love the sound of this book, you review some really interesting sounding books that make me want to stay home and read all day.

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    1. I'm with you. I could read endlessly... every day. Now if only I could find a benefactor to support that habit! I felt fortunate to have found this book (or maybe it found me).

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