on April 10th 2018
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This book was simply wonderful!
“For nearly her entire life, Gloria Ricci has been followed by bees.”
Gloria Ricci is caught in an intimate act with a young woman named Isabel at the beginning of the book. Believing that they are doing the right thing, Gloria’s parents admit her to the Belmont Institute. It’s a place with a pretty brochure but is extremely ugly on the inside. It is a place meant to “cure” teens who are attracted to members of the same sex. The teen years are usually when people begin to “find” themselves. It’s a time of change – puberty, sexual urges, self-esteem, self-worth and identity all come into play. It’s a time to learn who you are and to look toward the future. For the teens at the institute, it is a time where they are told they are “sick”, that there is something wrong with them that needs to be “fixed.” They have “therapy” sessions and are offered aversion therapy. It’s a horrific experience which is made better when Gloria meets Sheffield “Sheff” Schoeffler. They bond, and, in his presence, Gloria is finally free to be her true self. She and Sheff become best friends and make plans for a better life once they are released from Belmont.
Sheff and Gloria run away and form their own family unit where both love and accept the other. Unfortunately, their happiness does not last, and Gloria returns home and eventually meets Jacob, a man she will eventually marry…….
I don’t want to say too much more about the plot but that I had a hard time putting this book down. It was an emotional read. One can’t help but feel for both Sheff and Gloria. I wanted to cheer for them and cried with them and sadly watched as Gloria married a man and moved away from her parents.
This book is about friendship, love, loss. yearning, acceptance, being true to yourself, and being open to others. It is laced with Magical realism and beautiful passages. It also deals with difficult subjects such as abuse, suicide, non-acceptance, death, infidelity, and the impact of secrets.
The bees continue to buzz throughout the book and follow Gloria through her life making appearance at important times and when she needs them the most. As Gloria attempts to be true to herself, she finds that she can love and be loved. The ending is a bit predictable but seriously, who cares? I didn’t. I loved it.
Highly recommend everyone picks up this book to see what all the reviewers are buzzing about!