Bee works for a traveling carnival. She has been looked after by Pauline ever since her parents died in a car accident when she was four years old. Pauline and Bee run the hot dog stand and live in a hauling truck. They travel from town to town, never really putting roots down anywhere. Bee has a hard time because she has a large diamond-shaped birthmark on her cheek. People, young and old, stare and laugh at her. The owner of the carnival even wants to put her in the freak show so that he can make money off of her. These parts of the book were really hard for me to read. It reminded me of how people treated Auggie in Wonder and Melody in Out of My Mind.
Eventually, Pauline is sent away to work at a different carnival. Bee is 11 years old and on her own. Without Pauline to protect her, she has an even rougher time. One day, she decides to run away. She takes her dog Peabody and her favorite runt pig, Cordelia. Bee and her pets are taken in by two old women, Mrs. Swift and Mrs. Potter. It seems like it will be a wonderful life. But Bee begins to notice things about the women, first and foremost, they seem to disappear often. And no one but her can actually see them.
This book is in an interesting genre category. It's historical fiction, taking place during World War II when many men are being sent away to fight. But there is an element of fantasy in it as well. So maybe it is historical fantasy? I'm not sure, but Bigger than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder fits into this fiction/fantasy genre as well.
Have you read Beholding Bee? I'd love to hear what you think in the comments!