Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Friend of the Family and The Death of Bees

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein was recommended to me by another great reading friend. 
I found it to be a rather disturbing book, but certainly thought-provoking.  Another one of those books that made me wonder: what would I do/how far would I do for my children?

The book is the story of two families who had been close for years, raising their children in the same community and sharing life.  Pete Dizinoff was a well-respected internist, who was happily married, but having some difficulty with accepting where his nineteen year-old son Alec was heading in life.  Alec had quit school, moved into his parent's garage apartment and was hoping to make it as an artist.  As Pete struggled with his disappointment in Alex, his best friend's daughter, Laura, showed up.  Laura was ten years older than Alec, and had a horrific past.  Alec and Laura became friends and then got involved with each other.  Pete became obsessed with his fear of what would become of Alec under Laura's spell.  His obsession took over and resulted in tragedy in every area of his life.

This was an easy book to read and was well-written.  And, as I said, thought-provoking.

I found The Death of Bees on clearance.  It sounded interesting to me so I took a chance.  I'm glad that I
did.  It's a good book.  Written by Lisa O'Donnell, it is the story of two young sisters, Marnie and Nelly, who appear to be living on their own in their run-down housing..  Their neighbor, Lennie noticed that the girls parents hadn't been around for awhile.

Lennie slowly began to take the girls in, feeding them meals and helping out as he could.  The girls would only say that their parents were on a trip to Turkey.  Over time, others began to question where the girl's parents were.  Lies and stories continued, and eventually the truth began to come out.  Meanwhile, Lennie and the girls had formed their own "family", and did not want to be separated.

The book is narrated by the three main characters and is a very easy, quick read.

Written with fierce sympathy and beautiful precision, told in alternating voices, The Death of Bees is an enchanting, grimly comic tale of three lost souls who, unable to answer for themselves, can answer only for one another.

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