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The Beekeeper of Aleppo

The Beekeeper of Aleppo, by Christy Lefteri

3/30 | Started 01.19.22 • Finished 01.27.22 | 3.5 stars

I kept waiting for this month's book club choice to pick up and come out on the other side of all the difficulty. Instead, it felt like a constant mashing back down. Which maybe is intended as the story takes the reader on a Syrian refugee journey. If that's what the author was going for, she really nailed it. Just when you thought things were looking up and they were getting somewhere, something new would come along and dash their hopes. But all along the way there was this quiet hope building along with a quiet healing. And maybe that's what it's like. A constant compilation of struggles, through which the main characters have to keep an eye on the barely-there glimmer of an end in sight.

No, his dark thoughts came from somewhere else, as if he had already become afraid of losing everything, as if some echo from the future was reaching back and whispering in his ear.

I appreciated the insights into what refugees are going through. And not just the physical obstacles of border crossings, border closings, dangerous middle-of-the-night sea crossings, criminals, sabotage, and general vulnerability, but also the mental and emotional baggage that comes with being forced out of one's country, having one's livelihood ripped away, and violently losing one's own family members.

While I did like the book, I found that sometimes it slogged along. Maybe that was part of the author's intent but it was too much sometimes. I also thought that it ended rather abruptly, with the slow simmer of hope and healing suddenly coming crashing through the narrative. As such, I gave it three stars, maybe 3.5. If you'd like a close look at the refugee crisis (albeit from a fictional standpoint), I think this book would give you an accurate taste.

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