Xmas Reading : Honeybee by Craig Silvey

If you’re up for one of those emotional rollercoaster reads add this one to your Must Read List.

14 year old Sam is about to commit suicide when his eyes lock with an old man smoking a cigarette contemplating the same thing. Basically, five pages in and I nearly gave this a miss. Just too bleak for Christmas reading and why I avoid watching It’s A Wonderful Life.

Sam takes us on a journey of the disenfranchised and dysfunctional. It’s raw and tragic, though despite all the ugliness Sam has been watching Julia Childs’ cooking show since a really young age and he is passionate about his love of preparing food for people.

Yep, we were due a little light at the end of the tunnel………

Despite the depressing events that occur in Sam’s life – which include but are not limited to drugs, sex, violence, firearms, robbery, animal torture and bullying – he develops a strong friendship with old Vic who advises him to “Find out who you are, and live that life”.

You see, Sam is also transgender.

This coming of age novel is written with sensitivity and tenderness. Although a topic that I would generally choose to stay away from it was both eyeopening and educational in a tender hearted way.

There has been controversy in that the Australian author, whose previously released novel Jasper Jones is considered a contemporary classic, should not have written this book on the basis that he is a *cis man. So murder mysteries should only be written by those who stab someone to death or commit a heinous crime? Lighten up people. I would think that Honeybee would be of help to those youngsters struggling with identity issues.

Made me laugh, made me a little teary, and made me wish I had watched Julia Childs.

* Had to look it up :- Cisgender is a term for people whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth. For example, someone who identifies as a woman and was assigned female at birth is a cisgender woman. The term cisgender is the opposite of the word transgender. Related terms include cissexism and cisnormativity.Wikipedia

10 thoughts on “Xmas Reading : Honeybee by Craig Silvey

    1. It’s not one I would have selected but having read, and enjoyed Jasper Jones ( which was turned into a movie), I thought it important tp pursue. These are different voices for different times for a different demographic : I think it is important to “stay in touch” even if it is not our thing.

      I’ll cook roast beef and yorkshire pudding to go with the Sparkling Shiraz as soon as the holidays are over. Chat soon, Avid S.


  1. Hmm interesting review May. I read “Jasper Jones” and enjoyed it too. Not sure I would tackle this one though.At the moment I’m reading another Jane Harper “survivors” . I read “dry” and recently saw the movie too. Hope you had a lovely day yesterday and enjoyed your roast beef and “fluffy?” Yorkshire puds , makes my mouth water. What glorious weather we had. Best wishes for 2021.


      1. I read the book first so knew what the end was. The movie followed the book plot very closely, so element of surprise was missing, but I still enjoyed the movie. Jack hadn’t read the book and I didn’t tell him, so he said it was excellent.

        Just go out in the garden early in the morning and then again after 4pm. Perfect time to be out there.


  2. I think I’ll give this one a pass. Though I enjoyed Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton (I think you recommended it) there are some topics that I have way too much personal experience (family members, coworkers, friends) to enjoy the story….


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