Rated Reads

The Death of Bees

by Lisa O'Donnell

Rated: DIRT

Fifteen-year-old Marnie and her 12-year-old sister, Nelly, have seen their share of problems. They’ve witnessed the deaths of both of their parents in one day right in their own house. But they’re not too bothered by the loss because they weren’t really stand-up adults. What does worry the girls is that once someone gets wind of the parents being gone for good, the girls will be farmed out into “the system,” and they can’t have that happen, not when Marnie is so close to legal adulthood herself.

So the girls wind up deciding to bury their parents in the backyard and go about their business.

Meanwhile, a neighbor with issues of his own is watching over the girls, wondering how they’re doing.

The story could be an interesting one of survival and unlikely friendships, but I couldn’t make myself read past page 45. There’s just too much vulgarity. Marnie uses f-words left and right. And the neighbor is a homosexual whose partner has died and who has been stuck on a sex offender registry because he paid a teen boy for sexual favors in a public park. There are some rather gross details about the parents’ bodies decomposing in the girls’ house until they decide to bury them, too. It all added up to a definite Don’t Invest Reading Time for me.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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Death of Bees
  • The Death of Bees
  • by Lisa O'Donnell
  • Rated: DIRT
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Reviewer: