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Book giveaway this week: The Hive by Gill Hornby

(44 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 16-May-13 10:32:57

We're delighted that publishers Little, Brown are generously offering mumsnetters 50 copies of Gill Hornby's brilliant debut novel The Hive, hot off the printing press (hardback) and already predicted to be huge this summer. The Hive tells the story of a group of mums at the school gate. It's a story about group politics, female friendship and the joys and perils of Lunch Ladders, car boot sales and the do's and don'ts of dressing your child as a Dalek. If you're interested, visit the giveaway page to hear Gill Hornby talking about The Hive and read the first chapter and if you'd like to get your hands on a copy and post up your thoughts on this thread, apply here.

mrsamerican Mon 11-Aug-14 11:09:29

I was in the middle of a load of other books, so it's taken me a while to read my free copy. Although I'm an American (we don't have "school gates drama" like here due to buses) and the mother of a non-school age kid, I thought it was an amusing read and great to pass on to friends for beach holidays.

I thought Rachel, the main character, was interesting, and I found her likable and sympathetic. I also loved the character of Georgie, a successful lawyer with her gaggle of children who she secretly dearly loves to be with. Frankly, the rest of the characters felt like pastiche. I didn't really care for the queen "Bea" with blonde ponytail and her group of similarly cloned friends who don't vary from the caricature of yummy mummies with too much money and too much free time, but I guess that was the point. I found the constant switching from depressing moments (someone husband commits suicide and episodes with Rachel's awful uninvolved ex-husband) to ecstatic victories against the clones to be unnatural. It was similar in style to "Where Are You, Bernadette?" but I found it less effective. It was still a funny, good read, although it veered into soppy romance a bit too much for my taste, which wasn't advertised on the cover. If I were being funny and accurate, I would give it a B+.

Cakecrumbsinmybra Wed 18-Jun-14 10:11:30

I received my free copy last week and have just started it, so will post my thoughts soon. Is it the second giveaway then?

Southeastdweller Thu 12-Jun-14 16:44:31

I enjoyed it on the whole - some good observations and amusing situations but there were too many characters and it was hard at times to keep track of them. With fewer characters she could have gone into more depth and I also think the story could have done with a bit more drive. I’d recommend it as an easy, if ultimately not hugely memorable read, and I’d read Gill’s next book.

ChessieFL Sat 07-Jun-14 13:57:36

Thanks for sending me a copy!

I looked forward to reading this as my DD starts primary school in September. IT was....ok. Not bad enough to make me give up on it, but not good enough to make me want to keep and reread it (and I keep most things I read). I didn't actually like any of the characters - even the character Rachel that you're meant to empathise with just came across as a bit wet. I appreciate that the characters were stereotypes to an extent, but it went too far and just became unbelievable for me. And I agree with a previous poster who found it irritating that none of them seemed to have any sort of life/friends outside the school.
So in summary, a reasonable way to pass a few hours but could have been a lot better.

Wings77 Mon 02-Jun-14 21:14:09

Thanks for sending me a copy of this book. I was really looking forward to reading this book about school mums but in the end I found it a little disappointing. I got a bit bored of the story and found it hard work to trying to keep up with the all the characters. Overall not a bad read but not a brilliant one either.

EduardoBarcelona Thu 29-May-14 02:48:54

Bump as it's being trained again on the other thread. Somewhat oddly

SatansFurryJamHats Wed 28-May-14 22:59:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EduardoBarcelona Wed 28-May-14 22:43:08


Queazy Mon 19-Aug-13 07:02:57

Really enjoyed this book - an easy read but very well written. Thanks again!

slightlyroundthebend Thu 15-Aug-13 22:29:37

Has taken me ages to read this book as just have very little interest in the characters. I find myself wondering why the mums can't see how horrible they are being to each other, it's a book about bullying and so I struggled.
Ok parts were entertainingly but mainly I found myself irritated :$

NicknameTaken Mon 29-Jul-13 14:28:26

Got it from the library and pleased I didn't part with actual cash. Deeply irritated by the character of Georgie in particular.

Very narrow in terms of social class - even characters who find themselves hard up still have no doubts about being able to fill the fridge from Waitrose (there's one Lidl shopper, but she gets what's coming to her). At one stage Rachel looks around at the people in a cafe and thinks that they're no better than people on benefits, really, in terms of what they do with their day.

The pages slip by easily enough but I can't say I'd recommend it.

llewejk Sat 27-Jul-13 20:13:06

I was delighted to receive this book. It was a light easy read. It arrived just before my holiday, so was able to take it with me.

I did wonder if I would get chance with my little girl. But as soon as she went down for a nap I couldn't wait to read another chapter.

The book is a light, funny read. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. The characters are entertaining.

I really enjoyed the book and the first book I have read since having my little girl six months ago :-)

Thank you mumsnet.

AnonYonimousBird Fri 19-Jul-13 14:26:32

Really? This got published? I thought it started promisingly, almost, but just deteriorated into predictable and unconvincing farce. And not in a good way! Disappointed.

Gethsemane Thu 18-Jul-13 14:08:56

I just finished this, and I have to admit I found it a bit difficult to get into. I did enjoy it, but I found the characters somewhat over the top & obvious. I can think of some similar individuals - but all their oddities and characteristics have been magnified to cartoon-esque proportions. That meant I found the book a little difficult to identify with. That said, flow of the book was straightforwards, and the quality of the writing was good.Would make a good holiday read.

ThreeBeeOneGee Fri 05-Jul-13 15:19:56

I borrowed a copy from the library. Have just reached the Fruit Shoot Remark at Bea's lunch. grin

serendipity1980 Thu 27-Jun-13 11:08:09

I just wanted to say that I've received my copy thanks and I'm about a third of the way through. It is entertaining, you can match the characters to some in the playground but some are a bit exaggerated! I'll give a more detailed review once I've finished the book. Thanks Mumsnet

sbroadhurst Wed 26-Jun-13 17:47:24

This book is cleverly titled - it wasn't until I started reading it that I realised that Gill Hornby is so right with her comparison of a bee hive to that of a school's parent's association/fund raising committee.

Hornby has cleverly identified that within a school community, there are a group of parents who are volunteering for everything, organising fund raising, taking new parents under their wing and generally supporting the teaching staff. Although I do not believe that there is always a 'queen bee' within this group of parents, Hornby introduces us to Bea, who has taken on this role and organises the group of parents within activities regarding the school, but also, interestingly, with activities outside of school e.g. exercise routines.

I found that there were lots of characters within the book, some of who's back story's we were told, others who seemed to be there to pad it out a bit. These characters bought many different story strands to the book, some of which seemed to link into the main story, others drifted and went nowhere. I think that some of these stories could of been developed further and would of made a better read. I also thought that the main characters at the start of the book seemed to be lost part way through the book and only came back in at the end in a weak manner - this I think, especially Bea, could of been developed more and could of shown a meatier storyline, with the feelings of mums whose children are at school all day, feeling lost and undervalued.

The book was an okay read, it promised lots but I don't believe it lived up to all of its hype and possibilities from reading the synopsis.

The school my children go to is an inner city primary school and although there is a similar committee it has different dynamics to this one which is in a smaller village/town community. I could identify parents from the playground which were similar to the characters within this book but I think that the school my children attend is too large to have this close community within all the parents.
Hornby's ideas behind the book was very clever and I am sure it can be observed in many smaller, close knit school communities.

lolapops1 Thu 13-Jun-13 19:57:40

Not a book I would usually read so it was nice to receive one in the giveaway. The front cover drew me in a little bit.
At times I found this book very haphazard and felt like I would benefit re-reading when I had put the book down.
There are some thoroughly awful characters in this book. I didn't feel like I clicked with any of the characters at all.
Whilst I do get that there are some competitive parents I thought this was a little over the top.

DesperateHousewife21 Thu 13-Jun-13 09:35:42

Have finished now. I was expecting something more in depth about Bea at the end after reading some comments on this thread before I got to the end.
Also agree the ending felt rushed.

I liked it overall but took me a long time (about half the book) to remember who everyone was, especially the less important characters like Jasmine/ Collette. But that might just be my sleep deprived brain!

dellabob Sun 09-Jun-13 21:50:07

Well, I managed to reach the end, despite the predictable outcomes and OTT characters. I found most of the characters extremely irritating, but the core of the story kept me reading. I did find the writing style disjointed and the end if the author was a little bored of the characters and story by this point.

Some of the characters were too weak willed and stereotypical for me, which did make me angry at times..good if that's what the author wanted to achieve!

It was a light read and good storyline in general, but I felt it could have been explored better particularly with the synergy between Rachel's mothers' bees/beekeeping analogy and the central characters.

Big thanks thought for sending me a copy :-)

countingdown Sat 08-Jun-13 14:11:59

Thank you for sending me a copy. When I started reading it, I really enjoyed it, but after the first few chapters the characters began to annoy me somewhat.

Some of the characters were definitely people I recognise from the playground, but I didn't really 'get' them. It would have been interesting to read more about Bea and maybe see life from her perspective. Similarly with Tom Orchard, more insight into his thoughts on all these bonkers women, and reading about his feelings on his and Rachel's friendship would have been good.

I felt the ending was a little rushed - almost as if the author had reached her allotted number of words.

I did enjoy this book, and would recommend it to people looking for a light read.

cluttered Thu 06-Jun-13 23:34:59

I've finished it too, enjoyed it more than I thought I would from the cover which screamed chick lit. I agree it didn't have much character development but it was really easy to read and fun even if it was a bit predictable and some of the characters were caricatures. It never made me think that I couldn't be bothered to read any more as holiday fiction sometimes does.

Although it was a light humorous read overall there were some more poignant parts e.g. Heather's infertility, the thoughtlessness of Rachel's exP towards their DD which were quite well observed.

Thanks for sending me a copy

AnonYonimousBird Thu 06-Jun-13 21:26:22

OO, I've got mine, thank you. It's about four books away currently, but the ones in between are fast readers, so hopefully not long until I start!

countingdown Mon 03-Jun-13 22:02:02

I started this book when I got into bed tonight. Was planning on an early night, but want to read on now! Have only read the first few chapters, but have really enjoyed what I have read so far.

gottasmile Mon 03-Jun-13 14:50:42

I've finished it too, and agree with some of what Perspective 21 said. I would have liked more insight into some other characters' perspectives, even those of the children.

The ending didn't seem very thought out, Bea's "outcome" didn't seem very realistic.

I agree some of it was written well, other times a little lazy, as Perspective said.

I identified with one of the characters, then at one point I thought, "no, I'd never do that"!!!

Overall, I enjoyed it and couldn't wait to get to the end.

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