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Eliza's father, Saul, a scholar and cantor, had long since given up expecting sparks of brilliance on her part. While her brother, Aaron, had taken pride in reciting his Bar Mitzvah prayers from memory, she had typically preferred television reruns to homework or reading. This belated evidence of a miraculous talent encourages Saul to reassess his daughter. And after she wins the statewide bee, he begins tutoring her for the national competition, devoting to Eliza the hours he once spent with Aaron. His daughter flowers under his care, eventually coming to look at life "in alphabetical terms." "Consonants are the camels of language," she realizes, "proudly carrying their lingual loads."
Vowels, however, are a different species, the fish that flash and glisten in the watery depths. Vowels are elastic and inconstant, fickle and unfaithful.... Before the bee, Eliza had been a consonant, slow and unsurprising. With her bee success, she has entered vowelhood.When Saul sees the state of transcendence that she effortlessly achieves in competition, he encourages his daughter to explore the mystical states that have eluded him--the influx of God-knowledge (shefa) described by the Kabbalist Abraham Abulafia. Although Saul has little idea what he has set in motion, "even the sound of Abulafia's name sets off music in her head. A-bu-la-fi-a. It's magic, the open sesame that unblocked the path to her father and then to language itself."
Meanwhile, stunned by his father's defection, Aaron begins a troubling religious quest. Eliza's brainy, compulsive mother is also unmoored by her success. The spelling champion's newfound gift for concentration reminds Miriam of herself as a girl, and she feels a pang for not having seen her daughter more clearly before. But Eliza's clumsy response to Miriam's overtures convinces her mother that she has no real ties to her daughter. This final disappointment precipitates her departure into a stunning secret life. The reader is left wondering what would have happened if the Naumanns' spiritual thirsts had not been set in restless motion. A poignant and exceptionally well crafted tale, Bee Season has a slow beginning but a tour-de-force conclusion. --Regina Marler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Strange characters, though I had to finish the book to see how it ended. The movie didn't get into the characters as deeply as the book did.Published 2 months ago by Andrea L. Newman
I chose this book as a selection for my book club. It is clever in its plot and intriguing. The film made from this book wasn't true to the written story.Published 5 months ago by abracadeborah
How old is a child before they begin to question what adults tell them? Does it depend on the adult? Does it depend on what they're being told? Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kopriva
This story is neither informative nor redemptive. It is ugly. It is a waste of time. The only feeling it leaves you with is a longing to get back the hours you spent neglecting... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
A WONDERFUL tale; horribly sad but still uplifting. The spirit of the young heroine is wonderful. One of few books I've had trouble putting down, and MUCH better than the film, as... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amazonia
Bee Season is a beautifully, flawlessly written novel that takes us through the journeys of 4 members of a family- father, mother, brother and sister. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Randy Hoover
Eliza, an average fifth-grader, wins her school spelling bee, to her and every else's surprise. As she goes on to more serious spelling competitions, her family begins to question... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kaitlin Kelly
The story begins so innocently, a family, a child's desire to please, conformity and acceptance. The author takes us where we did not think we would go and yet we knew exactly... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Deb Overbaugh
Highly readable and well-written, but ultimately depressing.*Bee Season* describes how change shatters the delicate equilibrium maintained by a highly dysfunctional family. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Scott G