The Librarian's Corner

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King Review by Elaine Zhou, Senior Hair grippingly daring and hilariously witty, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King follows the journey of Mary Russell and her partner, Sherlock Holmes.  A true intellectual, Mary manages to both annoy and astound with her air of superiority and her almost unrivaled skills of deduction.  After an unlikely encounter in the countryside near some beehives, the bookish and bespectacled pair become friends almost instantly.  Partaking in adventures full of deception, crime, and interestingly enough, ham, Russell and Holmes learn to function in complete synchronicity with one another.  When a mysterious enemy with a great affinity for bombs beings to target them, the mentorship turns into a partnership and they begin to combat this newfound opponent in a dangerous battle of wits that will keep you thinking for weeks. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones  by Jennifer Nabers, Faculty It’s a great book set in Atlanta during the 80s. James Witherspoon is a bigamist. He has 2 wives and 2 daughters, only a few months apart in age. Lavender is his wife, and Chaurisse is his legitimate daughter. Gwen is his second “wife” and Dana is his secret, one that he successfully keeps hidden from his first family for almost 20 years. This book is told through the eyes of the daughters. Dana is the first narrator, and she has known all along that she is second best. Gwen is both resigned and angry, and she and Dana spy on James’ other family, simmering with resentment that they are not treated the same way. The second section is narrated by Chaurisse. She and her Mother have no idea that James has been betraying them for 20 years, and her section tells the story of how the secret finally comes to light. Jones’ writing isn’t fancy and frothy, but it packs an emotional punch. She’s very precise with her descriptions. When Dana traps her father in a lie, she thinks, “It’s funny how three or four notes of anger can be struck at once, creating the perfect chord of fury” (45). The author does a great job of making every female character sympathetic. She definitely made a good choice to start the narration with Dana, who gives her mother’s life dignity and purpose. When the narration switches to Chaurisse, I was primed not to like her, but then I realized how innocent she was of the whole situation. In many ways, her life is more difficult than Dana’s. She isn’t as naturally beautiful as Dana, and she isn’t as smart either. This is really a book about strong women. James and his brother (he’s complicit in keeping the secret for so long) are there, but it’s watching the women deal with their lives that is the focus of the novel. Most poignant are the words of advice that the different generations of women tell each other about how to survive, about what is worth fighting for.  Near the end of the novel, Chaurisse goes to her Uncle looking for an explanation and says, “nice guys break your heart but manage to make you feel like they’re the ones who have been done wrong” (324). I loved this book. I can’t recommend it highly enough.]]>