During my EIGHT HOUR WAIT FOR SNOW TIRES. I got a chance to read some books front to back. One of them being: “The Bees” by Saline Paul.
Ever wanted to know what it’s like to be a Bee? Well dont because bees are fucked up.
The bees are anthropomorphic but as far as I can tell, they have all of the physical appearance of a bee in its entirety. nothing super human about it other than their brains and ability to speak and use objects like cups and beds and such.
The story follows a low life janitor bee as she is greeted to this world with the higher class beating and killing her sisters in her clan to enforce that their shall be no deformities. But one of the high priestess decides to spare our main character Flora 717 as Flora shows more intelligence for a typical disposable worker. Flora is barely a day old and shes forced to do all theses experiments….at one point they tried to make her eat a baby?
Despite all the abuse, Flora is just as prone to the pharamones from the queen as everyone else in the hive and her undying love for her queen pulls her back to the hive when she leaves at one point and becomes homesick.
Laline is excellent with the sensory detail in a way we humans can understand even though we dont have antenna or six feet. So you don’t need to be avid about bees to really sink into the story. You’ll feel alienated reading it as much as you’ll feel a little alarmed how closely it resembles humanity. Its no Animal Farm but it’s proof Insects and humans share very similar social and political roles in some ways. The book is often compared to hunger games, and the handmaid’s tale-the only book to ever make me feel physically nauseous from reading and gave me nightmares in highschool.
I really appreciated the book not being distracted by too much vibrant characters like in actual Bugs Life, and how it really stayed focused and straightforward making it an easy read. It plays like a sequence of events with every chapter Flora faces something new and interesting in the life of a bee. Its a pretty fast paced read.
Its human just enough to understand. you won’t be confused if you dont know anything about insects but there is a chance you also won’t be emotionally engaged. You’ll feel this book in your gut more than in your heart. There are scenes I find difficult to explain….She felt pleasure eating the drone’s waste? I dont know whats happening but you definitely feel it happening.
I didn’t really get any moral or message from this but of course you’ll leave with a new appreciation for honey and all the pollination the bees do.
Read if: you want a forced animalistic perspective, different point of view, something straightforward, something off beat, appreciate sensory details, slice of life, interested in social and political sciences, biology or you are just furry trash thats all fine too.
Don’t read if: you are turned off by books with lots of realistic violence and trauma, want something with romance, or adventure. go watch bee movie instead.
its literally the handmaids tale but you take on the roll of an a freaking disposable little slave bee! Of coarse I had to stop reading! Does that mean I regret reading it? Not a chance. I’m glad this book exists.