HONEYBEE - CRAIG SILVEY
Author: Craig Silvey
Published: September 2020
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, LGBTQIA+
Late in the night, fourteen-year-old Sam Watson steps onto a quiet overpass, climbs over the rail and looks down at the road far below. At the other end of the same bridge, an old man, Vic, smokes his last cigarette.
The two see each other across the void. A fateful connection is made, and an unlikely friendship blooms. Slowly, we learn what led Sam and Vic to the bridge that night. Bonded by their suffering, each privately commits to the impossible task of saving the other.
Honeybee is a heart-breaking, life-affirming novel that throws us headlong into a world of petty thefts, extortion plots, botched bank robberies, daring dog rescues and one spectacular drag show.
At the heart of Honeybee is Sam: a solitary, resilient young person battling to navigate the world as their true self; ensnared by a loyalty to a troubled mother, scarred by the volatility of a domineering step-father, and confounded by the kindness of new alliances.
Honeybee is a tender, profoundly moving novel brimming with vivid characters and luminous words. It's about two lives forever changed by a chance encounter -- one offering hope, the other redemption. It's about when to persevere, and when to be merciful, as Sam learns when to let go, and when to hold on
NICKY'S REVIEW ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
It is worth noting that I write this as a cisgender female, and my review is completely subjective. Honestly, Sam Watson’s voice captured my heart when they were standing on a bridge about to end their life at 14 years old, and just would not let it go. It’s been weeks, and I am still reeling. We then go on to meet Vic, who is living a life he deems already over, and the two of them form an unlikely but powerful bond, bound in their pain and grief. A heart-breaking coming of age story yes, but also brilliantly multifaceted. It’s about finding your way without those who you need the most, the right to your own identity and the steps we take towards self-love, and the longing to remain hopeful with that glimmer possibility that things can get better. A story which I deemed to have told with the utmost compassion and care, that I will never cease to recommend.
TAY'S REVIEW ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
If there’s one book you read this summer, please God let it be ‘Honeybee’. This novel starts and ends with the intention of making us feel uncomfortable to the point of breathlessness, as we are exposed to the absolute heights and depths of humanity all at once. There’s something so vulnerable about reading from a child’s POV as they observe and grapple with adversity. Coming of age stories are the most powerful testaments to the resilience of youth. Sam faced more in 14 years than a lot of us face in our lifetime; broken families, gender dysphoria, household drug & alcohol abuse, domestic violence, and yet found the strength not only to live, but to live a life with compassion. Silvey platforms social and political issues that are screaming for liberation. He teaches us that not everything is black and white, and that the blood running through our veins is not what governs who our family are. It was a privilege to learn these lessons echoed in the story of ‘Honeybee’ and its extraordinary characters.
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending us a review copy of this book.
You can find more information about the book and purchase a copy here.
Self harm, suicide, drug abuse, domestic abuse, gender dysphoria.
'The Sydney Morning Herald' Article - Craig Silvey's new novel is bound to face intense scrutiny. He's OK with that.
'ABC' Podcast - The Book Show with Claire Nichols - Craig Silvey's real life inspiration for Honeybee
'The Booktopia Podcast' - Craig Silvey - 'When We're Trapped In Our Own Emotional Domain, It Can Be Very Difficult To Escape.'