Honeybee by Craig Silvey – Ratty Reads

I LOVED this one. I’m going to miss this story and these characters! I thought this might be heavy, but I found it perfectly pitched and paced, and it was just so immersive.

Honeybee tells the story of young Sam, who is struggling with who he is and the body he’s been born into, and trapped in a completely dysfunctional family.

He makes some unlikely friendships which become more like family, such as with Vic.

Vic was such a beautiful character but so contrasting from Sam.

They found each other when they both needed each other most and saved each other, and I just loved their relationship.

Whilst Sam struggled with gender dysphoria, he also struggled with self-confidence and didn’t see himself as others saw him.

Getting out of his damaging family unit he met people who saw the good in him, his friend Aggie was unflinching in her support and love for Sam, which wasn’t something he was at all used to, and their friendship held some really lovely and powerful moments.

In talking about all the lovely parts, it was set against a very dark background with struggles with mental health and suicide, grief, drugs and crime.

But it was just so well done.

I connected so well with the characters and the story, and I just feel fulfilled after finishing this one!

It’s one story I don’t want to step out of, I want to see what Sam does next!

I was lucky enough recently to spend one of my maternity leave days in the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden listening to Craig Silvey talk about Honeybee for Adelaide Writers Week.

If you’ve never been, make sure to check it out in future! Craig spoke of where his idea for the book came from and how we went about writing a book from the perspective of a young trans-gender character.

Craig’s brother and sister-in-law happened across a teenager on a bridge in the same way the story opens.

While they called emergency services they spoke to the teenager to hopefully prevent them from what they went there to do.

Craig was completely moved by this story and motivated to learn more about this person’s struggles which included a deep dive of research into the trans experience.

Craig took a really consultative approach to writing this book with his focus on making sure it was an authentic representation and first and foremost ‘did no harm’ to the trans community.

He had received some backlash about this but also a lot of support, and his hope is this book can pave the way for people to understand these struggles better and to seek out further learnings themselves, such as through ‘own voice’ stories.

This one I’m sure will be one of my favourite books of the year, I want to hug the book and then force everyone I know to read it.

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