I firmly believe we should all read widely and expand our understanding of the world as we know it. Seeing the world through someone else’s eyes can alter your outlook, it can make you more compassionate, it stretches your mind to consider challenges perviously unthought about. Honeybee is such an influential book and I highly recommend it.
Honeybee starts quite dramatically. From the moment you start you won’t want to put it back down. Sam is a young person with a young, unhappy mum, not a lot of options and ongoing disquiet and uncertainty about their identity. But Sam is a sweet soul and the entire book is spent rooting for them to be adequately cared for and to figure it all out – themselves, their potential, and their desires.
This book deals with issues of suicide in one of those heart-wrenching, sob-invoking ways. You will bond with the characters and, if you’re like me, there’ll be gasps, there’ll be laughter, and there will be tears. Silvey holds the pace for the reader in a terribly skilled way. You are never overwhelmed by this story, but you are constantly invested. Silvey paints the helpless anxiousness of a child in such a way that makes you grip the armchair willing Sam to have a different resolution as the terrible end to the situation at hand comes screaming at you. But in that way that Honeybee can’t control it, neither can you.
The learnings, insights and gentle explanations scattered throughout this book are wonderful. Community, acceptance, discovery of self-identity, inner strength, how we cope and thrive despite hardship… It’s all there and it’s all so carefully layered that you don’t quite realise until the last page is read, and you’re sitting there lovingly smiling at your kindle… Or maybe that’s just me.
I cautiously recommend this book to older teenagers as the challenges it deals with ultimately resolves with abundant hope and resilience. For anyone else, it’s that reminder that we all need to remember that it’s impossible to understand the backstory of every single person and we do not know what everyone around us is experiencing or has experienced. Just the same as nobody truly knows everything that you’ve been through and overcome to be here with us today.
Ultimately, that suffering doesn’t define you, and I hope the themes of living your true identity and the promotion of self-discovery found in this book helps shed light on that in a really uplifting way. We all matter and we all deserve to be comfortable in the body that we have. Importantly, we all deserve support and encouragement to understand how to achieve that specific to us.