#3wordreview: Full. Of. Heart.

I have never been a fan of bees. Ever. Until now. Laline Paull, in this incredibly impressive debut novel, has given them such humanity in this tale of Flora 717. She has told such a beautiful and gripping story of survival and endurance, and highlighted thoughtfully but honestly, the plight of bees in our ever-demising environment.

Jameela Jamil holding a copy of The Bees

Jameela Jamil holding a copy of The Bees

We begin our story as we meet our heroine Flora 717, freshly hatched, and immediately a victim of ridicule and abuse due to her unorthodox appearance. She is born to a kin considered lowly and simple. She is larger than the other bees, darker and what the other bees describe her as throughout the book, "ugly." And yet she is gifted beyond the comprehension of all higher bees, garnering her much attention and success at times. Often much to the disdain of her threatened superiors. But this never once deters her.

This is a beautiful book that illustrates and champions the potential of "the underdog." It is a story that encourages anyone to know they are capable of anything, no matter how different they are, what they are born into, or how they are perceived by others. It inspires us to revel in our capacity to be different from our kind and persuades us to keep going through the hardest challenges life may throw at us.

It also reminds us of the value of bees, and their purpose. We are given such a vivid image of their day-to-day existence and their struggles, both physical and emotional. I dare you to put this book down without developing such a huge love and respect for these creatures. The book is full of set backs, surprises and hope. The stories are so gripping and elegantly described, the relationships are so complicated and at times heartbreaking. It's hard to remember you are not reading about people, as they are so likened to us in their trials and tribulations. This is a must read for anyone who has ever felt as though they do not fit in. It's a book that shuns low self-esteem and champions persistence in the name of victory.

The Bees by Laline Paull is shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction, which is announced on 3rd June. http://www.womensprizeforfiction.co.uk/


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