Monday, February 1, 2016

niggling doubts

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fiction, middle grade
Review: Overall, I enjoyed this book.  I thought the language was lovely.  However, the faults in the premise kept niggling me, even in the best parts of the book.  The premise that bothered me was not the magical realism.  I actually thought that was beautiful.

What bothered me was the idea that there's an old (old) man living alone on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, who starts getting dementia, and someone notices.  The man has no car.  There's nothing to indicate that he has any contact with anyone off the ranch.  But somehow there's a doctor who is so concerned that he calls the man's son (who hasn't spoken to his father in 12 years, since his mother died), and says that the old man must be moved to a nursing home immediately.  And then the son decides that he has to uproot his entire family (including his two children, who have never met their grandfather) and they're all going to spend the summer on the ranch caring for the grandfather and fixing up the ranch house.  In the middle of nowhere.  In a drought.  Except it turns out that no-one is surprised when the buyers are just going to tear the building down anyway, because who wants a who-knows-how-old ranch house in the middle of nowhere, no matter how clean it is, anyway?

So yeah, that bothered me.  In the few moments that I was able to ignore that, I found the story of a tween girl getting to know her grandfather and listening to his stories of love and magic and really coming to care about him (and the ranch) quite nice.  Niggle niggle.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

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