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Words, Worlds, Whorls

A place where I write reviews and keep track of what I want to read or have already read.

The Death of Bees

The Death of Bees - Lisa O'Donnell The plot and structure of this book were certainly intriguing, but the overall technical problems in the end caused too much annoyance for me to give it anything higher than a three.At first I thought my problems with the writing were merely a matter of preference; I hate run-on sentences in fiction unless they serve a stylistic purpose. Fragments tend to be more my style. Regarding this book, however, I could see why Marnie would use run-ons, up to a point; she is lazy when it comes to schoolwork and probably doesn't care about grammar at all. But then I saw that Lennie also uses run-ons. Okay, maybe he's not as educated as we're supposed to think he is. Also (SPOILERS!) he's dying from a brain tumor so maybe he can also be excused.But then I realized the grammatically-conscientious Nelly was falling victim to the same plight as the other characters. Now that, I felt, was just shoddy writing. Three dramatically different characters and they all talk in the same way even though on the surface they aren't? I couldn't quite suspend my disbelief that much.The other thing that irks me in fiction is when a character talks to "you." Especially when the character talks to you, the reader. Thankfully that wasn't the case in Lennie's passages; he had an invisible (dead) "you" to whom he spoke in his head. I was able to let that bit not irritate me as much. But it does beg the question was I, the reader, supposed to step in and fill the part of Lennie's dead partner Joseph? After all, he is mentioned by name maybe twice; the rest of the time, he is simply "you." I'm not sure how comfortable I am becoming a late-age closeted gay man.As for the plot itself, it really grabbed me. I liked the short chapters, as it made for quick reading - a great contrast to the other book I am reading at the moment, Sometimes a Great Notion. I also enjoyed Nelly's characterization. I get the impression she is on the autism spectrum (although Marnie intimates that it may at least partly be an act to keep Gene away), which is always fascinating to me. The ending, however, left a little to be desired. It was just a little to neatly wrapped up with (again SPOILERS) Marnie and Nelly and Vlado-the-drug-dealer living like a family in Lennie's old cottage.I guess I tend to be a little harsher with first novels when really I should be kinder. Karen Thompson Walker's Age of Miracles was also a big miss with me because of the technical issues. Bearing all that in mind, I still have to give this book a solid 3/5 stars.