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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A HONEY OF A BOOK, January 29, 2003
This review is from: Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees (Hardcover)
While most of us give a wide berth to stinging insects, memoirist Roseanne Daryl Thomas cozies up to bees, affectionately calling them "my girls." - quite an about face for one whose prior knowledge of apian life consisted of "They buzzed. They stung. They were yellow."

Following a divorce Ms. Thomas, her then 7-year-old daughter, August, and Ruffy, a geriatric cat, sought new life in a small New England community populated by 3,000 inquisitive souls.
There she met Farmer Tom; farmer being an unlikely sobriquet for a man with clean fingernails and a business card. Another unlikelihood was Ms. Thomas's out-of-nowhere comment that she might like to keep bees. At this, her daughter smiled, and Farmer Tom offered his land.
Smitten with the idea of having a mother who was a bee keeper, August "danced jubilantly about the house, composing beekeeping songs, drawing beekeeping pictures." Not wishing to disappoint her daughter, and just a little enthralled by the idea herself, Ms. Thomas began a task about which she knew "a teaspoonful more than absolutely nothing."
She visited a master beekeeper who introduced her to a hive body or deep super where bees live. Inside the deep super would be wax covered moveable frames where honey is made. . To her chagrin these did not come ready made, but had to be assembled - a daunting task for one who was not sure she owned a hammer. She bought three unassembled hives.
Another necessity was "The Outfit," first of all, gloves, elbow length cotton covered with yellow latex. Gloves did not come in a 7 ˝; the smallest size in the white beesuit was a men's 42 regular. Finally, the hat. She was hoping for something in "a pale gold closely woven straw." Instead, she was handed "a hard white plastic pith helmet with ventilation grates at the temples."

There was no time for second thoughts as she had also ordered six living pounds of Italian honeybees. (According to the Bee Master Italian honeybees had the best dispositions). After many bruised fingers, considerable help from a friend, and countless visits to True Value, the hives were ready. Named Har, Jafenhar, and Thridi for the mythic trio who guard Valhalla, they were placed on Farmer Tom's land.
Weeks passed as Ms. Thomas tended her bees, sloshing through the field in Wellingtons bearing Ball jars of sugar water and toting other necessities in a lavender Bergdorf's shopping bag. With each visit she felt a deepening affinity for that spot of earth. Her respect for the natural world grew as she observed a blue heron seeking sustenance, and heavily laden black ants climbing ant mountains.
After a year the author had survived numerous stings and slings of fortune. She harvested her first crop with the observation that she had learned much but not enough.
Readers will find that they have learned much about bee keeping but not enough about Rosanne Daryl Thomas. "Beeing" is a memoir oddly lacking in emotional intimacy. Her marriage is dismissed with several lines, and there is scant reference to personal feelings. As "Motherhood" is found in the subtitle, one wonders what August's response was to the breakup of her home, and moving to a new community. Did Ms. Thomas ever address these issues with her daughter?
Practical matters also prove puzzling. With no apparent income how does one undertake a costly hobby that requires full time attention? Questions remain unanswered.
Nonetheless, "Being" is fluidly penned, at times lyric in descriptions of the changing seasons. And, there are lessons to be learned in this memoir, not the least of which is, "If you want to get honey, you have to be prepared to get stung."
There's no question at all about that.
- Gail Cooke
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bees and life, February 25, 2004
This review is from: Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees (Hardcover)
I love reading books about someone passionately engaged in something new, and this book is exactly that. Author Rosanne Daryl Thomas tells a tale of becoming a beekeeper almost on a whim, but it goes deeper than that. Clearly, there was something that drew her to the bees. It simply took circumstance to bring it forward. More importantly, she triumphs over the setbacks that occur with an honesty that seems missing in many books today. Reading this story was like listening to her tell it over coffee in her honey-covered kitchen.
Thomas' tales of learning the beekeeping trade from the bottom up are humorous, enlightening and presented in a conversational tone that kept me turning the pages. So much so that I finished the book in 1 day! She also throws in a few lessons about life and love, without being heavy handed or bogging down the story.
Even as someone who knew a little bit about beekeeping, I learned new stuff about the processes involved. For the gardener in me, it is great to learn a little more about how my garden helps bees to survive and thrive. My neighbor has a single hive on top of his garden shed and I can sit in my garden swing, watching their comings and goings. He makes sure we get some honey each year, too. Tasty! Even more so since part of it arose from my garden.
Several of my favorite books are based around the cycle of the year's passage. I think growing up on a farm certainly plays a part in this, but we all instinctively relate to the passing of the seasons in some way.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Fun, November 7, 2002
By 
Kiesa (Boulder, Colorado United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees (Hardcover)
BEEING is deep, insightful, and witty. Reading the book feels like sitting down to tea with a close friend who's telling her adventures. I also learned something new about writing, because the descriptions are extremely good. The part about Rosanne's first experiences with a hammer -- well, it had me grinning, and I also began to think about tools in a whole new way! Non-tool-users such as myself will have a heyday recognizing the signs and symptoms. I think that section, and many others, could be used in writing classes to teach people, by example, how to bring someone into the exquisite details of a story, and draw them into feeling as if they're living it along with the writer. It's a good book for EVERY parent, for EVERY woman, for EVERYone. And you'll learn plenty about beekeeping, in between the A-Ha! moments. I am not kidding. This book is GREAT. Rosanne is a terrific writer, as the New York Times Book Reviews of her other books will tell you, and this new book has the added bonus of a kind of personal gentleness, an intensity of quiet emotion that's never overstated, but always there -- like the humming buzz of the bees in the background. It's a beautiful, meaningful book.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honey and Charm, December 30, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees (Hardcover)
What a great read! Thomas breezes us through a year in the life of an unstoppable single mom, as seen through the lens of a novice beekeeper. She braves the vicissitudes of her first year of beekeeping with pathos, humor, intelligence and grace. As she interweaves her care and tending of the bees and their hives with the care and tending of her daughter, herself and their memorable home, I turned page after page with an ever-widening smile. Many thanks to the author for granting me a glimpse into her personal and universal world.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beeing, December 6, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees (Hardcover)
What a deeply satisfying book, rich in character, witty and warm, reflective without being ponderous, a marvellous read that holds your attention. Recounting her troubles and travails as a novice beekeeper and single mother in a quaint New England town, Rosanne Thomas creates a vivid collection of characters full of quirks yet helpful and kind as she struggles to juggle the challenges of three buzzing hives, a number of unsuitable suitors and the vagaries of nature with the needs of her sensitive, bright young daughter. In the process she paints a panorama of life and death, courage and perseverance with such intelligence, humor and charm and renders the beauty of nature with such deft but delicate strokes that I laughed, spilt a tear, and will never again spread honey on my toast without acknowledging the painstacking labor of love it takes to produce. Beeing offers us by example the gift of true being.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Charmed by BEEING, January 13, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees (Hardcover)
I love this book!!! It is sweet, funny, touching
and completely charming. (also inspiring: makes you
want to keep bees and appreciate them more.)
This is a "keeper" for the personal favorites library.
It is the gift I want to give my favorite friends and
relatives. The only thing possibly better than reading
this story would be to see Sandra Bullock make this into
a movie!
******Sandra Bullock please make this into a movie...
it is PERFECT for you!!!!!****************************
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful Book!, February 17, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees (Hardcover)
I am beekeeper so that made the book even more enjoyable! Even if you have never thought about keeping bees the book is great!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book, December 6, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees (Hardcover)
This book is amazing. I was so sorry when I finished it because it is lyrical, funny, wise, touching - in short it is a fabulous read, a book you become completely immersed in. It is what I am giving everyone for Christmas.
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Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees
Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honey Bees by Rosanne Daryl Thomas (Hardcover - October 1, 2002)
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