Naumann, a seemingly unremarkable nine-year-old, expects never to fit
into her gifted family: her autodidact father, Saul, absorbed in his
study of Jewish mysticism; her brother, Aaron, the vessel of his
father's spiritual ambitions; and her brilliant but distant lawyer-mom,
Miriam. But when Eliza sweeps her school and district spelling bees in
quick succession, Saul takes it as a sign that she is destined for
greatness. In this altered reality, Saul inducts her into his hallowed
study and lavishes upon her the attention previously reserved for Aaron,
who in his displacement embarks upon a lone quest for spiritual
fulfillment. When Miriam's secret life triggers a familial explosion, it
is Eliza who must order the chaos.
Myla Goldberg's keen eye for detail brings Eliza's journey to
three-dimensional life. As she rises from classroom obscurity to the
blinding lights and outsized expectations of the National Bee, Eliza's
small pains and large joys are finely wrought and deeply felt.
Not merely a coming-of-age story, Goldberg's first novel delicately
examines the unraveling fabric of one family. The outcome of this tale
is as startling and unconventional as her prose, which wields its
metaphors sharply and rings with maturity. The work of a lyrical and
gifted storyteller, Bee Season marks the arrival of an
extraordinarily talented new writer.
It is amazing how quickly a true talent can announce itself. In the case of Myla Goldberg, it is now even a matter of pages, but of sentences...a marvelous debut novel.
Tattered Cover - Cathy Langer
The protagonist of this first novel is a heretofore-unremarkable nine-year old girl who is revealed to be a spelling prodigy. This novel is beautifully written and draws the reader into the world of this young girl, the compelling world of Jewish mysticism, Spelling Bee politics, family dynamics, and deep secrets. Absolutely amazing!
Time Out New York
Goldberg, who is only 27, has something rare in first-time novelists, and for that matter, in more experienced writers: an appreciation of the subtlest dynamics of human relationships and experience. And as a stylist has the equivalent of a musician's perfect pitch. This is a fantastic first novel, that I wanted to read again as soon as I'd finished it.
New York Times Book Review - Dwight Garner
A dispassionate, fervidly intelligent book that comes by its emotion honestly . . . has something else going for it, something you didn't realize you'd been missing in recent fiction: a bit of actual suspense ..... Bee Season flickers past like a dream, and it is artful indeed.
The New York Times - Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
As mundane and unmystical as these longings of Eliza's may be, you never stop caring about whether she will fulfill them....sensitive and witty.
Library Journal - Kimberly G Allen
.....The result is not always compelling, however; too much time is devoted to Eliza's study of words.
While coming-of-age stories all bear a certain similarity, Goldberg strikes new ground here, and displays a fresh, distinctive and totally winning voice.
School Library Journal - Molly Connally
Teens will identify with these young people as they seek out their own identities while risking the loss of parental approval.
Goldberg is a gifted writer, but her style--delivered in a detached, almost clinical prose that gives the feeling of fable or dream--holds the reader at a distance and keeps her characters from ever quite coming into the third dimension.
Booklist - Bill Ott
There is something of Holden Caulfield in Eliza, the same crazed determination to save her loved ones from themselves. An impressive debut from a remarkably talented writer.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Kat Mindblowing This book just blew my mind. It's that simple.
Rated of 5
by Kim Good writing, annoying characters I picked this book up used, on a whim, as I’d seen it listed as a well-reviewed book in a number of places. It’s one of the few times I’ve been disappointed when relying on book reviews to choose a novel. Granted, the book is relatively well... Read More
Rated of 5
by The Honor Student This Book Bee Season is a remarkably well written book. This book, however, could have given off the same meaning if the author did not focus so much on sexuality. Many students were required to read this book and i don't think it is well suited for their... Read More
Rated of 5
by Carolyn Peterson My Opinion about We listened to the tape (12 hours) on a road trip for the past 2 days, and thoroughly enjoyed. It really took the boredom out of the trip, and kept us awake. Development of the characters and attention to detail were very good. The author's... Read More
Rated of 5
by M_Kittle Bee Season I do not like it, because it is very weird and it does not grab me into the book. And why are the regionals happening on page 68? And she is going to go to the nationals what happened to the state spelling bee? It has like just disappeared. It... Read More
Rated of 5
by Melissa Spell L I N G E R I N G While I really enjoyed this book, I felt the sadness and longing of the all the characters - it really tore at my heartstrings. While it wasn't an action packed thriller, I couldn't put it down and the characters stayed with me long after I... Read More
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