Tag Archives: Death & Dying

Review: Did You Ever Have a Family

Did You Ever Have a Family

Did You Ever Have a Family
By Bill Clegg
Gallery/Scout Press, Paperback, 9781476798189, May 2016, 320pp.

The Short of It:

Grief is processed in many different ways and Clegg manages to capture all of them in this beautifully written novel.

The Rest of It:

On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s life is forever changed when she loses her daughter, her daughter’s fiance, her ex-husband and her boyfriend in a tragic accident. Losing what is essentially her entire family, June packs her car and heads to a town where she can be alone for awhile.

Each character plays a role in the telling of this story. Some characters are more superfluous than others, yet all of them are important to the end result. As June makes her way across the country, other people also affected by this accident, are forced to come to terms with their own grief.

This is a tragic story about an imperfect family trying to come together to celebrate this joyous day and instead what they have is pain, sorrow and regret over what they didn’t say or didn’t do. There are beautiful, touching moments between these characters which makes the reading more an exploration of grief than a sad, heavy story about loss.

I really loved how the story came together at the end. It was a very satisfying read as far as books go and my book club had plenty to discuss. I highly recommend it.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees

Hour of the Bees
By Lindsay Eagar
Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763679224, March 2016, 368pp.

The Short of It:

A debut novel with a sweet story to tell.

The Rest of It:

I suppose this novel is considered Young Adult but the story really speaks to any age, young, old and anywhere in-between.

Carolina is like most teen girls, once summer hits, all she can think about is spending time with friends. This summer is a little bit different. She heads to New Mexico with her family to help her ailing grandfather transition into an assisted living facility.

The ranch has always been a part of the family, but the drought has caused the land to go to ruin, the animals to waste away and what was once a vibrant landscape, is now just a shriveled-up dust bowl. Grandpa Serge does not agree. Although battling dementia, he’s hanging onto the stories of his past, which include his deceased wife Rosa and the bees that literally took the rain away with them.

Carolina’s time at the ranch is short but from the stories Grandpa Serge tells and the curious bees that continue to circle her head, Carolina realizes the importance of family.

What a sweet story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. There is a little magical realism going on, which I tend to have a very low tolerance for, but here, it’s done well and with a very light hand. The author’s description of a land ravaged by drought is spot-on. This is the second book I’ve read dealing with drought and my poor Southern California self is really hoping this is not a trend but honestly, I didn’t mind too much.

If you like stories about family or ones where kids respect and even admire their elders, check this one out. Carolina is a sweet kid and her grandpa is quite the story teller. You’ll breeze through this one in a heartbeat.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.