Book Review: The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read

The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read- Susan Hill 
When I bought this book in a charity shop, it looked exactly like my sort of thing: An uplifting tale of a man overcoming adversity in the strangest of circumstances. The blurb was vague so I read the first page and I enjoyed the writing style. Excellent.

How wrong I was. For one thing, this is actually a collection of short stories. It probably says this somewhere but clearly nowhere noticeable or I would have spotted it. That wasn't not a problem. I'd never read an anthology of short stories before so I was up for that.
Unfortunately, what was the problem, was the depressing monotony of the stories. After the first two or three, you've read them all: Somebody with a dead friend or relative struggles to come to terms with their loss. Loss and loneliness are the key themes here and they are so heavy-handed. Hill basically smacks the reader in the face with desolation. Be sad! This is a sad story! The problem is, stories lose any sense of pathos when they are this predictible and unsubtle. 
The best story, by far, is the book's namesake. However, it finishes before we get any sense of closure and so it leaves the reader feeling uncomfortably tense. At least it's a short book! 


  1. It's the worst feeling when a book disappoints! I tend to avoid short story anthologies because they're either filled with mediocre stories, or finish way before you want them to. At least it was a charity shop find!

    Jess xo

    1. That's what I found with this one! So annoying!

  2. I'm so glad you wrote this review because this book was on my "to-read" list and I was completely unaware that it was a book full of short stories! I'd have been SO gutted when I started reading it :( xx

    1. You'd think they'd say it somewhere. Irritating!


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