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Good Reads Review: Honeybee by Craig Silvey

Following off on the hype around this book and around Craig's writing in general, I went into this novel full of excitement around reading another classic. What I got was a story that caught me off guard, in all the right ways.

Honeybee touches on many tropes and challenges that troubled youths face, (especially LGBTQ+ youth), stories that have been told many times over in many novels. It isn't groundbreaking, however it is it's simplicity that makes it so effective. Silvey isn't trying to reinvent the wheel here, because with this story he doesn't have to. He has crafted a beautiful novel filled with quietly displayed power and triumph, and dripping with emotion.

It follows the story of Sam Watson, a fourteen year old who has suffered from from challenges few of us can understand. Upon a chance meeting with an old gentleman named Vic at an overpass, the two develop an unlikely bond.

While the book had a slow beginning as Silvey unravels Sam's predicament, midway through the first part of the book we are treated to a spectacular drag show: from that moment this book propels into the stratosphere and had me on tenderhooks until the end.

Silvey touches on many things here, including the very real struggle of trans people in today's society, homelessness, troubled upbringings, depression, death and more, and treating these topics with respect. However, the overall theme of this book is a triumph of the human spirit, and Silvey's characterisation of Sam is perfectly realised on the page. You are there with Sam through every struggle, every moment and every challenge.

The only regret I have is that it took me so damn long to get round to reading it. For your own sake, don't make the same mistake!


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