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book review: "flight patterns"...

Friday, July 7, 2017
... by Karen White, published by New American Library, in 2016. Another of those randomly chosen from the stacks in the public library. I was desperate for some reading material and grabbed four when I made a dash into the branch to feed my need to read.

A story of interest to anyone who is familiar with the Gulf coast of the Florida panhandle, where the story takes place in Apalachicola. Or anyone who has knowledge or love of honeybees or other pollinators. Meaning people who like honey in their tea and/or others who love the good stuff on their pancakes, that is all of us, right? My personal knowledge of beekeeping is a result of my brother deciding that tending bee hives would be his choice of project when he was itchy to participate in a club in junior high that required developing animal husbandry skills.

Our family lived in a small rural community that was very much dependent on agriculture as a major source of income, 'industry' if you will. But we were not actually farm people, so the prospect of raising livestock like pigs or a calf,  a goat or sheep was not an option. I am not at all sure how he landed on the bee-keeping idea, but did create numerous opportunities for family togetherness during those years, extracting honey from the hives. My definition of a high risk occupation. Fortunately our house had a very large screened  in back porch, perfect for protection from very angry bees.

The title: "flight patterns" becomes more understandable,. as you learn about bees, as well as the lengths alienated sisters will go to avoid confrontation .The story was interesting, well written, with characters you felt like you knew - and felt great affection for, as the dysfunctional family (aren't we all?!?!) learns to forgive, accept and move on with their lives, overcoming their antagonistic history. The patriarch of the family was the knowledgeable keeper of the apiaries, but he had taught two more generations in the patient ways of observing and caring for communities of bees. Lots of tid-bits of bee lore tossed in along with a really sweet story of people who learn what is really important: family.

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