The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is a triumphant tale of a girl who find her place in the world. Be prepared for some emotions!
~~~~Some Spoilers Ahead!~~~~
The Secret Life of Bees is a dramatic story set in 1964 South Carolina. The story centers around Lily Owens, a 14-year-old white girl who has lived a difficult life with her abusive father. When her “stand-in mother,” a black woman named Rosaleen, gets sent to prison, Lily realizes that she cannot stay in that life anymore. So they run away and end up living with three other women who keep bees. The women, who were lovingly dubbed the “Calander Sisters,” took Lily and Rosaleen under their wing, and teach Lily about life, love, and the secrets of beekeeping.
What makes this story so remarkable is the fact that it’s set in a time where the lines between blacks and whites were beginning to blur. The Civil Right’s act had just been signed, and during the course of the story you get to see the racial tension that went on in South Carolina. Right in the middle of all this tension is white girl Lily living with four black women, something that was frowned upon in the general society. During her stay, Lily deals with a painful past involving her deceased mother, makes friends, finds love, and discovers that she has more strength inside of her than she realized.
In reading this book, I was touched by the emotion that dripped like honey from the words. As I read I felt the sadness of the characters, rejoiced in their joy, and felt the peace they had in the end. I believe it is very much a mother-daughter story, and I would highly recommend it to others. Overall, I rate it a 5 out of 5.
The Secret Life of Bees gives us a glimpse into another world, not only with the racial tension that underlies every line but the world inside the house of the “Calendar Sisters.” Their world is one of tradition, one of mystery, and one of wisdom laced with sweet, sweet honey.
About the Author:
Sue Monk Kidd was raised in the small town of Sylvester, Georgia, and has written several smaller books before her debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees, sent her to the top of the New York Times Bestseller’s list. Since then, she has written several more books, including The Mermaid Chair and Traveling with Pomegranates. To learn more about this author and her works, you can visit her Website or her Amazon Page. The author’s photo was taken from her website.