Author: Melanie Dugan
Publisher: Upstart Press
Type of book: 1966-1990s? father/daughter relationship, war, abandonment, summers, bees, writing, creativity, growing up, estrangement, adults as role models
Year it was published: 2014
The spring Melissa (Lissy) Singer is eleven years old her mother walks out of the house and never returns. That summer Lissy's father, a migratory beekeeper, takes her along with him on his travels. The trip and the people she meets change her life. Over the years that follow, Melissa tries to unlock the mystery of her mother’s disappearance and struggles to come to terms with her loss.
The main characters include Melissa aka Lissy Singer who worships her mother and discovers her creativity and expressing herself. There is also Nate Singer, Lissy's father who has a lot of odd jobs and who is doing the best he can under the situation. He has an interesting assortment of friends who are memorable and quirky. He loves and cares for Lissy a great deal. Melissa's mom seems to be very liberal as well as someone who is high classed. The friends include Aunt Hetty who lives with her dogs and is married to someone who specializes in antiques. She cares a great deal for Lissy and her father. There is also Opal who is in an abusive relationship and she's a polar opposite of Lissy's mom as well as Chance the writer who helps Lissy become creative and Earl whom Lissy likes instantly.
An event can impact someone greatly
The story is written in first person narrative from Melissa a.k.a Lissy's point of view. Most of the book takes place in 1966, the summer when Melissa went with her father to help out with the bees and meets her father's friends and so forth. The pace is a bit uneven which might be a good thing because it gives focus to the important event that happened to Lissy and subsequently how that one single event impacted Lissy's whole life for better or worse. By the way, while romance does play a small part, its more like few pages long instead of taking up the whole book.
Melanie Dugan is the author of Dead Beautiful (“the writing is gorgeous,” A Soul Unsung), Revising Romance, and Sometime Daughter.
Born in San Francisco, Dugan has lived in Boston, Toronto, and London, England, and has worked in almost every part of the book world: in libraries and bookstores, as a book reviewer; she was Associate Publisher at Quarry Press, where she also served as managing editor of Poetry Canada Review and Quarry Magazine. She has worked in journalism, as a freelancer, and as visual arts columnist. Dugan studied at the University of Toronto Writers Workshop and the Banff Centre for the Arts, and has a post-graduate degree in Creative Writing from Humber College. She has done numerous public readings.
Her short stories have been shortlisted for several awards. She lives in Kingston, Ontario with her partner and their two sons.
Find out more about Melanie at her website.
When I was reading this book, I couldn't help but compare it a little to Secret Life of the Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. (Both do have similarities: the missing parent, the child/parent relationship, the bees, 1960s and an influential summer.) However, this book was better written than Secret Life of the Bees. The author doesn't waste space and instead it seems as if words, images and so forth do matter and are important. The father figure becomes important in this book and he becomes a sympathetic character that one might identify with. I have to be honest that I liked the role that Melisa's father played and that he was created as a three dimensional figure. Also, certain things were hard to predict and were very surprising. Due to the nature, I really would recommend this to young adults.
Melanie’s Tour Stops
Monday, May 19th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Tuesday, May 20th: BookNAround
Thursday, May 22nd: Book Dilettante
Friday, May 23rd: Open Book Society
Tuesday, May 27th: A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, May 28th: Literally Jen
Thursday, May 29th: Karen’s Korner
Monday, June 2nd: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, June 3rd: Forever Obsession
Wednesday, June 4th: Karen’s Korner Blog
Tuesday, June 10th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, June 11th: Giraffe Days
Monday, June 16th: The Most Happy Reader
Tuesday, June 17th: Every Free Chance Book Reviews
Wednesday, June 18th: Jorie Loves a Story
Wednesday, June 25th: She’s God Books On Her Mind
Thursday, June 26th: The Road to Here
This is for TLC Book Tour
5 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)