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The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees
by Meredith May

Published: 2019-04-02
Hardcover : 336 pages
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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 ...
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Introduction

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.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of April 2019: When Paul Simon sang that “every generation throws a hero up the pop charts,” he could just as easily have been talking about memoirs. From The Liar’s Club to Angela’s Ashes to The Glass Castle, and from there to 2018’s Educated, every generation has been rocked by the recollections of those who were dealt a rotten hand in the parental poker game. And readers don’t even need to be in that club to appreciate the genre: the grateful relief of thinking “there but for the grace of God go I” is as visceral as thinking “me too.” For too many of these memoirists, salvation lay on the far shore of adulthood. What sets The Honey Bus apart from the rest of the genre then, is that it is simultaneously a story of survival and salvation. Meredith May’s father abandoned her, her little brother, and their mother fairly early on, and her mother retreated into a fug of mental illness, rage, and despair. Taken into the care of her maternal grandparents Meredith forged an unbreakable bond with her grandfather, who taught her about community, loyalty, and survival by way of his favorite pastime, making honey in a rusty old military bus parked in the yard of their Big Sur home. This touching memoir celebrates family, the lessons we can learn from nature, a marvelous little insect, and those heroic grandparents who, even when things fall apart, ensure the center can hold. --Vannessa Cronin

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