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The Hive Hardcover – 23 May 2013
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An acute, funny and sometimes scary comedy of manners . . . the literary debut of the year (The Times)
Clever and witty . . . through the minutiae of school-gate politics, Hornby skewers human nature with the sharpness of a parliamentary sketch writer . . . Anyone who has ever found themselves picked last for games or not invited for lunch will shudder with recognition . . . subtle and insightful (Sunday Times)
Genuinely charming (Guardian)
Uproariously funny . . . There's jealousy, despair, hope, fury, smugness and disappointment all crammed exhilaratingly together . . . [and] a beautifully constrained love interest (Angela Huth Spectator)
The jokes are funny, the sad bits are sad and the tone strikes just the right mix of satire and affection. The result is a rich slice of literary entertainment (Daily Mail)
With a wicked eye and a giant heart, Gill Hornby weaves a lively and hilarious tale that's pure fun. If you loved BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY . . . THE HIVE is the book for you (Maria Semple, Author of WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE?)
Welcome to St Ambrose Primary School. A world of friendships, fights and feuding. And that's just the mothers...See all Product description
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As well as the poor writing there is an inconsistency with the plot. Half the characters seem to have their parents living in the same small market town, which would suggest that they are locals, and there are references made to two of the mums having been at brownies together, but none of the characters seems to have lives outside the school gate or know anyone else in the town. The main character, Rachel, is supposed to be a local woman, n but doesn't know certain streets - yet it's a small market town, not a big city. I think in a better written book, this sort of thing would go almost unnoticed but it really jars here.
I can't believe the positive reviews this book got in national papers - I think possibly because of the author's connections rather than any literary merit. I ploughed on with the wretched thing as I kept thinking "there must be more to it" but sadly there wasn't.
I can't recommend this book in any way. Total dross.
This is a story about mums and children at a primary school and how the author compares hierarchy and social standing of these mums to bees in a hive.
For me there were just too many characters introduced too quickly and the author did not give them any depth; I struggled to remember who they were and their place in the novel and this did not improve overtime. The way the author chose to switch from one to the other also added to the confusion so there were parts in the story where I had to go back and re-read pages as I didn't have a clue who I was meant to be reading about.
The pace was slow and dialogue contrived, none of the characters seemed believable and the plot (though difficult to identify this until mid way through the book) seemed to be disjointed in places and veered off the point so much so that I lost interest and it was difficult to make the effort to finish the book.
There were flashes of humour and clearly Gill Hornby has good powers of observation which did come across in the book but the whole story seemed flat, pointless, disappointing and I struggled to remember what was happening each time I picked it up to continue reading. Would it have been better to read in one sitting? Not sure, possibly, but how many people can read a book cover to cover in one sitting? The author has to remember that people can't do this and the story has to be memorable and engaging enough to make a reader want to finish it - this book didn't do this for me.
The many references to bees was also a little tedious - Bea being the self appointed Queen at the start of the novel, Clover and Heather, etc. all seemed a bit like overkill - I get that the book is meant to be satirical and there was a lot of well observed ironies, sarcasm and jealousy in the book but I felt that Gill Hornby focussed a little too much on trying to be witty and not enough on expanding the characters to engage with the reader.
Quite honestly by the end of the novel I really couldn't have cared less what happened, it wasn't sufficiently absorbing for me to care and having no real bond with any of the characters it was difficult after a few hours to recall what it was about! Not a sign of a good read.
Sorry Gill not for me - I can only really feel happy to give this 2 stars.
I would like to thank weekend reads for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
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