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.
Journalist May (coauthor, I, Who Did Not Die), a fifth-generation beekeeper in San Francisco, delivers a powerful account of growing up in 1970s California. When her newly separated mother brought May and her brother from Rhode Island to the West Coast to live with her parents, bees were terrifying to the five-year-old. May was forced to grow up fast with an increasingly unstable and neglectful mother. But May bonded and found safety, first with her kind step-grandfather, and later with the bees he kept to produce his prized honey. Nicknamed "The Beekeeper of Big Sur" by his customers, he drove his retrofitted former military bus to tend to his 100 hives along the coast and provided May a fascinating education, teaching her about how bees communicate, eat, and protect their queen. It was through the honeybees, she writes, that "I learned to persevere." Leaving for college was a turning point for her: it was then that her mother shared her own history of physical abuse at her father's hands. May learned that, unlike her mother, she needed to look at what she had her grandfather and a gift for beekeeping rather than what was missing. May's chronicle of overcoming obstacles and forging ahead is moving and thoughtful.
Lovely story. Brought tears to my eyes, but great joy, too.
The honey bus
I love this book, this book made me happy mad sad laugh cry I felt every emotion. I connected with Meredith.
Loved this book
Loved this story. I’m a bee worshiper but it is a very good story.