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A week ago, I blogged about my intention of participating in a reading challenge. You can find the list of books that I plan to read here.
The first book on that list was The Beekeeper of Aleppo written by Christy Lefteri. I had actually saw this book in the best selling section of the library. The blurb looked promising. The first page was engaging. The book cover gave me peaceful vibes. I decided to give it a try.
I’m glad that I did. I’m glad that I chose to begin the challenge with this book. Despite the depressing storyline, it is nevertheless very engaging and a page turner. From the first page, I was hooked.
What It’s About
The Beekeeper of Aleppo is about a husband and wife living in Syria during the Civil War. Besides the destruction and turmoil from the political situation in the country, the couple is also undergoing their own civil war. They are still grieving over the loss of their young son. The wife, who previously was a painter, is now blind. The husband takes care of his wife’s physical needs. He is suffering emotionally too from their tragic loss. Their relationship was not what it once was.
They are motivated to leave Syria, however, after a threat against the husband’s life. They decide to head for the UK, where the husband has a cousin who has very recently headed there. What follows next is a couple’s tumultuous journey over land and water as they seek safety and sanctuary. They also start to slowly find their way back to each other, letting both of their inner and outer wounds heal.
Why You Should Read
The text is eloquently written, using key descriptive words and pivotal dialogue to let you envision the scenes playing before your eyes.
What I like most is how each chapter is divided: the first part shows how they are coping in the present and the second part shows their journey to the UK from Syria. Furthermore, the last word in the present day scenes is also the first word in the past scenes. I think this is effective as it shows that we can never truly escape our past. The present and the past are forever connected. This is an important theme in this book. The husband and wife are both haunted by the death of their son and memories of their life together in their home country.
Another important theme in this book is the idea of grief. When someone dies, we cannot completely heal from it without some form of closure. How long should you spend mourning the loss of someone we hold dear? When is it, if ever, okay to start to pick up the pieces and move on?
In this book, both the husband and wife deal with the grief of their son in different ways. The wife, who was formally a painter, is now blind and so she turns inwardly to herself, not showing any outward emotion. The husband shows his grief by not allowing himself to feel things. Instead his grief manifests himself in other ways, such as hallucinating people or things that are remind him of his son. Moreover, he finds himself doing things that he never wanted or expected to do.
In short, this book is a poignant account of one couple’s struggle with grief and ultimately documents their path toward healing from that grief. This topic is something that should be explored more in today’s culture. Too often, we are expected to put a lid on our grief. We are expected to not feel things, when sometimes experiencing our emotions is the best thing that we can do before we explode.
I give this book five stars for not only its excellent plot and character development but its willingness to raise the important issues that we need to address in society.
This book is available on Amazon.com and available to purchase on #PrimeDay:
What was the last book that made you feel something?