At precisely 11 AM every teacher in every classroom at McKinley Elementary School tells their students to stand. The enthusiasm of the collective chair scrape that follows rates somewhere between mandatory school assembly and head lice inspection. 


Eliza Naumann doesn’t think she’s special, especially after she is placed in a class for slow learners by her teachers. It’s her brother Aaron who her father Saul dotes on. But then, Eliza wins the school and state spelling bee. She goes to the national competition, and her father suddenly becomes interested in teaching her. This sounds like an interesting plot, but the book isn’t just about that. Everyone in the family has problems; Aaron is drifting away from Judaism, Miriam and Saul’s relations are strained, and Miriam has a problem with stealing. This part I didn’t like that much. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the spelling bee part, though the way Jewish mysticism was combined with spelling was kind of interesting. Kind of. The book is more about the slow unraveling of the family and a descent into madness than the spelling bee, and it’s really dark. Also, it just doesn’t seem realistic that there would be four cooky people in the family of four. I found it kind of disappointing. And the ending was just a complete letdown and stupid! Plus, the writing was really boring. There are much better things to take time to read.

Read Bee Season:

  • if you’re interested in spelling bees
  • if you are interested in religions
  • otherwise, just DON’T read it

274 pages.

  
If the library doesn’t have it, don’t worry about reading it!
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