An extraordinary story of a girl, her grandfather and one of nature’s most mysterious and beguiling creatures: the honeybee. Meredith May recalls the first time a honeybee crawled on her arm. She was five years old, her parents had recently split and suddenly she found herself in the care of her grandfather, an eccentric beekeeper who made honey in a rusty old military bus in the yard. That first close encounter was at once terrifying and exhilarating for May, and in that moment she discovered that everything she needed to know about life and family was right before her eyes, in the secret world of bees.
May turned to her grandfather and the art of beekeeping as an escape from her troubled reality. Her mother had receded into a volatile cycle of neurosis and despair and spent most days locked away in the bedroom. It was during this pivotal time in May’s childhood that she learned to take care of herself, forged an unbreakable bond with her grandfather and opened her eyes to the magic and wisdom of nature.The bees became a guiding force in May’s life, teaching her about family and community, loyalty and survival and the unequivocal relationship between a mother and her child.
Part memoir, part beekeeping odyssey, The Honey Bus is an unforgettable story about finding home in the most unusual of places, and how a tiny, little-understood insect could save a life.
Meredith May spent sixteen years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where her narrative reporting won the PEN USA Literary Award for Journalism and was short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize. She is coauthor of I, Who Did Not Die and is a fifth-generation beekeeper. She lives in San Francisco, where she keeps several hives in a community garden.
“Filled with hope, grace, beauty, and wisdom, this book is like warm honey in the sunshine. It beautifully illustrates how nature – even honeybees – can teach and heal us, if only we open our minds and hearts. It’s the kind of book that stays with you long after you’ve finished it–a rare treasure–and you don’t have to be a bee lover to be deeply moved by May’s wonderful story. I’m recommending it to everyone I know.”
— Stacey O’Brien, New York Times bestselling author of Wesley the Owl
“Captivating and surprising…. If you’ve ever been stung by a bee you will instantly forget the venom and remember forever the sweetness and redemption bees offer in this extraordinary book.”
— Sy Montgomery, New York Times bestselling author of How To Be A Good Creature and The Soul of an Octopus
“If Meredith May’s book was simply an ethology of bees I would devour every word; her prose is tender, thoughtful and transporting. But The Honey Bus is so much more – a memoir of aching loneliness, reckoning and redemption. Beautiful and brave.”
— Domenica Ruta, New York Times bestselling author of With or Without You: A Memoir
“The wounded feminine, the missing masculine, healed by a relationship with honeybees. An innocent child’s hard won journey to adulthood–clear eyed, often very funny, and agonizingly compassionate. The Honey Bus is all these things and more–so if you’ve ever been a lonely child, or want the world to become a kinder place, here is your book.”
— Laline Paull, author of The Bees
“The Honey Bus is a rare treat for true storytelling deeply rooted in science. Everyone will leave this book with much more knowledge about bees and humanity, and the compassion that lives at the intersection of the two. [A] captivating coming of age family story.”
— Noah Wilson-Rich, Ph.D., author of The Bee: A Natural History
“To read about Meredith May’s bee family and her human family is to garner heart strength. A true story in every sense.”
— Maxine Hong Kingston, bestselling author of The Woman Warrior
This free event will take place at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Chairs for open seating are usually set up about an hour before the event begins. If you have any ADA accommodation requests, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by April 2nd.