It’s been three months since I read The Bees by Laline Paull and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s been awhile since I’ve fallen this hard for a novel. After staying up late into the wee hours binge reading it, I couldn’t even fall asleep. The Bees is a dystopian novel toted by the publisher as “The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Hunger Games.” I’m not a big fan of describing a novel with another novel (or in this case, two), but now looking back, I think the description is apt.
Who knew that a novel entirely about the caste system of a beehive would draw me so completely? Flora is a sanitation worker, the lowest caste of her beehive. She and her sisters are deemed as dirty because they do jobs no other bees want. Even though Flora was born into her job, she is not like other bees. She is curious about everything, including the jobs her other sisters have. Her love and worship of the queen, who spreads her love daily through a release of pheromones, keeps her loyal to the hives.
However, she struggles between following the rules and following her heart to do more, be more, and mean more than just a sanitation worker. Her desire to become more than her caste can destroy her hive and life as she knows it.
A beehive’s caste structure was a perfect an allegory about doing what society tells us to do versus following our heart and our dreams. It’s obvious that Paull meticulously researched beehive society and dynamics when writing it. The details are incredibly vivid. I could easily picture the bees dancing directions to the new mecca of nectar and pollen. I could feel the hive mind working together to stay alive as they hibernated during winter.
I can’t say enough good things about this novel. I bought the ebook on whim and was so glad I did. It’s definitely worth a reread in the near future. I know I missed a details during my binge read.
The Bees by Laline Paull is on my list of best books ever. I’ve recommended it to all my friends. Don’t miss this debut novel. Now read it so we can talk about it together!
Have you read The Bees? What did you think?