Book Review of The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
Christy Lefteri's The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a powerful account of the lives of a young couple who lived a simple, but comfortable life in Aleppo, Syria, surrounded by friends and family. Afra was an artist who painted in the mornings, while Nuri went to work, as a beekeeper, with his cousin Mustafa in the mountains.
We quickly learn of the traumas both families undergo in war-torn Syria and after the deaths of the sons of Nuri and Mustafa respectively, the families decide to seek a safe life in the UK. Mustafa leaves first and makes it to Yorkshire where he became a teacher of beekeeping to other immigrants. Nuri, and his reluctant wife, Afra, follow, The use of emails in internet cafes between Mustafa and Nuri provides an outlet for the reader to gain insight into Nuri's emotional state.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo is about both physical and psychological trauma caused by war, family loss, abuse and dislocation. The balance of the relationship between the central couple Nuri and Afra changes as the story progresses. As the reader looks in on their life experiences, we notice both the impact of not only the horror of what the refugees undergo, but also the impact of small kindnesses shown to them. Through this the reader gains insight and understanding about the real-life plight of thousands of people in similar situations to these fictionalized characters.
The unexpected revalation towards the end of The Beekeeper of Aleppo (which I've talked about in My Personal Response, so don't read if you've not finished the book,) demonstrates the immense skill and craft of writing demonstrated by Christy Lefteri.
Bookclub Questions on Lefteri's The Beekeeper of Aleppo
Book Club Questions on The Beekeeper of Aleppo (If you haven't read the book!)
Personal Response to The Beekeeper of Aleppo
The thing that makes Christy Lefteri's great book stand out for me, is the focus it places on the psychological trauma that Nuri and Afra have undergone and continue to go through as they escape the Syrian war and make their long, arduous journey to England. For much of The Beekeeper of Aleppo Lefteri encourages the reader to focus on Afra's blindness, as we see Nuri support her the best he can. It took me an age to figure out that Mohammed is a figment of Afra's imagination, which puts the rest of his narration in question. Pure genius on the part of Lefteri.
What are the Values of School Trips
The Benefits of School Residentials
Residential Trips in Thailand
School Residential Trips has featured high during this visit to Bangkok. As a ‘trailing spouse I’ve tagged along with Saint Mick of Thana whilst he has visited his school’s residential trips to Rayong, Khao Yai, Kanchanaburi, and Nakon Nayok.
Tagging along on the visits has been a real trip down memory lane for me as I’ve relived the emotions I felt when my kids were on residential. If you know me it won’t come as a surprise when I say it would be quicker to list what I didn’t worry about, rather than what I did! On each trip though the kids returned smiling and just about in one piece. I do remember a few colds, scrapes and tired eyes, but these memories have by and large been replaced by the excitement of their chatter, and the elation of their sense of accomplishment about what they’d done, seen and achieved. I always remember Betsy's joy, who struggles with balance, after she managed the bike ride under the lovely, kind, watchful eye of Madame Peppard who had tight eye on her well-being.
Jane Austen and Empty Nesters!
Sleep Deprived Empty Nesters
I’m lying here in bed at 3.35 a.m. listening to the rain outside wondering whether Annie got home ok from her night out yesterday. I’m not too worried as I know she was travelling with her friend Alfie, but I question whether it is raining over in Spain too and if not whether it is cold. I hope that she has remembered to wear a proper coat. I know she won’t have put gloves on or even taken any to Salamanca with her. I check my phone to see if she has messaged but I am not expecting anything. It is her third year at university and I have slowly weaned myself off from asking her check in every ten minutes. I often manage up to an hour now! (Only half joking!)
Mick is in Bangkok and will probably be just getting up, I bet the dog is barking for attention. Betsy is in York and has messaged earlier to say that she is safely home from her evening out. There is no one to disturb if I switch on my very loud coffee machine so I get up and make myself a drink. It’s ok, but I know that Mick would scorn the inferior ‘bargain basement’ coffee beans. Only two weeks until half term when I see him. This makes me smile. I breathe out. For the first time this week my anxiety levels are within acceptable levels. Relax
I pick up Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen At Home which I’m about half way through. I adore Jane Austen, (particularly Pride and Prejudice) and admire Lucy Worsley but I’m soon sleepy. I lay the book aside. I have planned to blog in the morning about ‘Empty Nesters’ and I drift off wondering what type of empty nesters Mr and Mrs Bennet were. ....
First Day Back at School
Starting of School
How to Not be Nervous
I’ve seen lots of photos on Facebook this week of exceptionally smart, smiley and nervous looking kids, decked out in new uniforms and shiny shoes. It’s been, of course, lots of kids first day back at school and it’s unlikely they will be this smart again for another year. These ‘first day back at school’ pictures range from cute nursery snaps to collages of kids sporting gappy toothless smiles, replaced by braces, replaced by ‘to die for’ pearls. Mums’ and dads’ (mainly mums’) pride, but also nervousness, is apparent in the posts as successful first days of term are celebrated. Supportive comments such as ‘how grown up’, ‘what a lovely smile’, and ‘she’s looking so smart’ are genuinely heart warming and, to me, show social media being used positively. A mums’ (and teachers’) tribe at its best.
Back to School for Expats
Back to School Rituals
Back in Bangkok things are in full swing for the new term. Expat teachers are in their classrooms getting their displays and schemes of learning ready, parents may be breathing a sigh of relief, (taking a whole family back home or on exciting adventures is expensive) and the kids will be buying out B2S, (other stationery suppliers are available) and admiring their new shoes and uniforms ready for the big day. Teacher's kids will have prior info about the new staff! Everyone is getting their back to school rituals and back to school traditions set up.
I quit work suddenly and unexpectedly last September and since then I've frequently not been with my husband which is rubbish, but this is the first official start to the new academic year that I haven’t been part of. I feel very nostalgic about the school rituals and traditions. As the clock ticked round to 8.00 am this morning and I was still lying in bed, (wishing Saint Mick was there to bring me my cup of tea, but not being sorry to not be up at 5.30 a.m.) I was anticipating all that would be occurring across the waves. I wonder how accurate I was: