The Honey Bus by Meredith May was kindly gifted to me by HQ Stories, it has just been published in hardback, e-book and audible format on the 4th of April. It is one of the best memoirs that I have had the pleasure of reading, it is a story of Meredith’s journey to find her tribe, where she learnt life lessons and she did so with such bravado.
Isn’t that book cover absolutely beautiful or what?! Just for you, here’s the blurb:
The Honey Bus: A Girl Raised by Bees is a memoir about a girl’s journey into the heart of a beehive to find herself.
When she was five years old, Meredith May was abandoned by both parents. Her father left for the other side of the country. Her mother disappeared into herself.
But when Meredith discovered the rusted old bus where her grandpa kept bees, her world changed forever.
Family duty. Compassion and sacrifice. Unconditional love. The life of a honeybee displays it all. As her grandpa showed her the sacrifices bees make for their colony and the bonds they form with their keeper, Meredith discovered what family really means.
A rich and lyrical coming-of-age story, combined with spellbinding nature writing, The Honey Bus is the extraordinary story of a girl who journeyed into the hive – and found herself.
I felt emotionally invested in The Honey Bus from the get go; a duo that will make your heart soar – one girl and her Grandpa! This whole book hit me in the feels, I would highly recommend reading with a pack of tissues on standby – I read the last third in the bath so that helped wash away the tears created by full on ugly cry.
Anyway, enough of my tears, I want to tell you why adored this coming of age memoir and why you should most definitely treat yourselves to a copy!
Meredith has a family, a brother, a mother and a father, she loves her family but her parents no longer love each other. It’s at this point that you fall in love with Meredith, you can feel her insecurity as she’s thrown into an unwanted tug of war between her parents. No-one explains to her what’s happening as her and her brother are uprooted across the country to her grandparents from the only place they’ve ever called home. As you read, you can imagine this frightened and confused five year old girl as she’s prised from her father to live a life of walking on a constant alert life as her mother recedes into a shell of herself.
In walks, who I can only describe as a lovable and kind hero in the form of Meredith’s Grandpa. You can see through Meredith’s words how much she admires her grandpa, she refers to him as Zeus and from that point she is his shadow. The second love of her life became the bees, the ones her grandpa keeps in his old decommissioned Fort Ord military bus from the fifties, Meredith is intrigued and the bees become her coping mechanism from the drama that’s swashing around her. I couldn’t help but smile at memories Meredith shares with us, they were all so filled with love and learning, that it was impossible not to let the glowy writing improve your mood.
Meredith, like any child wants an ordinary family, a mother who her life can revolve around, like the bees and their Queen. If the Queen is lost, distressed, the bees of the hive with search and protect her. They’re life is lived upon a close knit family value, knowing that they need one another to survive. Meredith is drawn to the bees, they love so ferociously, they’re loyal until the end and they protect one another. These are the values Meredith wishes were true of her own family, she yearns for a unit of her own but through the distorted type family life, she is taught how to live by the bees – they become her confidents, her family. The Honey Bus and those within the swarms that she helps look after become her safe haven, where she could shut the world out and just be her, no family drama. As the dysfunction of her family increased so did her desire to become one of the bee colony – the need to turn away from the constant chaos, to become more ordered.
The Honey Bus is a read that I will keep in my heart, the writing is astonishingly beautiful, her imagery flawless and the lessons learnt unforgettable. It will leave you in an emotional heap of happiness, love, and loss. Meredith has in my eyes become the Lorax for the bees, she teaches children how to care for bees, as well as why they are so important. If you take one, just one thing away from this book, stop killing bees. Plant a few extra flowers this year, buy a bee feeder or a bee house for the garden. For more information, click these links:
Why bees are important: https://www.sustainweb.org/foodfacts/bees_are_important/
How to help the bees in your garden: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bees/10-easy-ways-help-bees-your-garden
Meredith May’s Q&A https://meredithamay.net/qa-with-the-honey-bus-author-meredith-may/
This is one read that you’re not going to want to miss. I gulped it down in a matter of hours! If you’d like your own copy, you can treat yourself here!