Reviewed by A. Hurst
Bless the Bees
I love a good nonfiction book. And having grown up in a household that only bought organic foods, recycled everything, refused to have a lawn, and had one parent deep in the trenches at EPA, I was excited to read Kenneth Eade’s timely book about the impending disaster regarding the massive decline in bee population during recent years. Unfortunately, the book fell a little flat, alternating between droning out long passages of facts in the style of my 6th grade social studies textbook, and spending huge portions (Chapters 5-8) on tangents about GMOs.
The information is well researched; over twenty pages of references are included at the end, but at least for me, I learned nothing new. In fact, I found the ‘what you can do’ section rather weak- there was no mention of community endeavors (instead of just individual), or the extremely important act of not disturbing a hive. At times, the text felt like a speech off a soapbox. ‘Dirty business as usual’ in Washington, ‘too big to fail’ companies buying out conservation efforts, and the need for GMO labeling (which I agree with, but it felt heavy-handed and off topic).
Now, I’m not defending EPA practices, before anyone jumps there–there are a great deal of things that have made me (and the parent that works there) heartily disillusioned, but I mentioned it so readers can know I am informed. I think the text could have used with citing their sources more directly, either through footnotes, or saying, instead of ‘a study found’, saying ‘A United Nations study found…’ (which is something I researched when I wanted to fact-check the document). Those small things would have lent a lot more credibility to the arguments as I was reading them. I’m not sure about the intended audience; the grossly uninformed will probably find this very enlightening, but as I’ve been following this debate for several years, it felt very one-sided, and it seemed to only scratch the tip of the iceberg for what it could have been. This is a nonfiction book. Where are your interviews? Where are your credentials? When I read nonfiction of this nature, I expect new things to be said, new theories to be expounded, or critical analysis of the debate to be in the forefront. In this regard, the book didn’t deliver. Adding in the long ramble in the middle section, and a few formatting aesthetic concerns, I can only give this one a three.
Bless The Bees