THE GOLDEN BEES OF TULAMI by Frank Bonham

THE GOLDEN BEES OF TULAMI

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Just when the gangs of Dogtown have put the squeeze on Cool Hankins, a mysterious African stranger comes to town, bringing with him a hive of bees and a supply of honey candy that is an instant turn-on to peace and humankindness. Gang tensions melt away after the African, Mr. Kinsman, arranges a ""brotherhood ceremony"" with tastes of Tulami honey for all, and Kinsman hopes to persuade the White House to exchange his queen bees -- and their potential as a social panacea -- for the developmental dollars the tiny kingdom of Tulami needs. Despite many straight-faced assertions that the honey, which has no negative effects whatsoever, is ""not a drug,"" readers can't be prevented from coming to their own conclusions. So it's not at all surprising that our government tries to destroy Kinsman and co-opt his product because peace would be economically disastrous. But whatever satire may (and it may not) be intended doesn't cut very deep; no one questions the rightness of the police using the honey to control crime, and no character ever objects to the gift of artificial bliss. In fact, Bonham is never quite specific enough about the nature of the honey high; he at least ought to have convinced us that it induced creativity, not just passivity. He does give us those dreamlike Dogtown locales -- like Breathing Man's storm sewer home -- and another chance to meet Cool Hankins, who remains a beautiful person with or without honey (what it does for him is never explained). The bee-emblem rings, Kinsman's exotic presence, beautiful dreams, and fast talk -- all flow as smooth as the syllables of the name Tulami. Decide for yourself whether this good high has any side effects.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1974
Publisher: Dutton