Name: Hillary Pacheco
Title: Information services clerk at the Jackson County Public Library
What’s the name of the book and author you are recommending?
“The Enlightenment of Bees” by Rachel Linden.
What made you want to pick up this book in the first place?
Honestly, I was drawn to the book out of curiosity as to what enlightenment had been brought on by bees.
Once you got into the book, what made you want to keep reading it?
The main character is a girl in her mid-20s struggling to find her place and purpose in the world. I think we can all relate to that struggle of trying to find ourselves, so I had to stick with her to see how she did it.
Once you finished the book, what did you like about it?
The general lightheartedness of the book was something I greatly appreciated. There’s a sense of hope in this book. Mia, the main character has a sense of adventure about her, a need to do something greater in life and a desire to help others and change lives, and I think that’s the person most of us desire to be.
What is the book about?
Mia, the protagonist of the book, is trying to find her purpose in life as a 26-year-old. After her boyfriend of years leaves her claiming to need space, her love life is left with no foreseeable future, and her current passion for baking doesn’t feel grand enough in the scheme of life. Feeling lost but still clinging to a thirst for adventure, Mia impulsively joins her best friend on a humanitarian trip around the world. She is tossed into the lives of others who are also struggling forcing her to take note of herself and the troubles of the world. From the slums of Mumbai to refugee camps in Hungary, she is pursuing a way to change lives and become this vision of herself she fondly titles “Saint Mia” but soon realizes life doesn’t always go as planned. Mia realizes she must choose between the life she thought she wanted and the life that’s unraveling before her. “The Enlightenment of Bees” takes you through love, loss and on an adventure to find “where your greatest passion meets the world’s greatest needs.”
Why would you recommend this book to others?
I think given the current state of the world, we could all use something lighthearted. We can all relate to what Mia goes through in some way, whether it’s struggling to find our purpose, experiencing loss or finding love. In the book, something that Mia discovers is “If we want to help people, we must enter their lives, be a part of their community. That is where real change happens, person to person, day by day, when we live life together” and “Small things can change the world for good.” One of her fellow volunteers with the humanitarian trip, having escaped his own country following the death of his parents, finds healing by realizing, “But we cannot escape our experiences. The memories are always with us, but sometimes, we can ease the way for others. That is what we must do, use our pain to build understanding and empathy, not to build walls. Then it is transformed into a thing of beauty. Then our suffering has value.” I found this book to be inspiring, and as for the bees, you’ll have to read to find out what they did for Mia.