Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Secret Life of The Bees - Sue Monk Kidd

Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory - the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Since then, her only real companion has been the fierce-hearted, and sometimes just fierce, black woman Rosaleen, who acts as her "stand-in mother."

When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it's time to spring them both free. They take off in the only direction Lily can think of, toward a town called Tiburon, South Carolina - a name she found on the back of a picture amid the few possessions left by her mother.

There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Maternal loss and betrayal, guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most.

A serious subject - racism - treated in a light manner in this story about a young girl neglected and mistreated by her who runs away after freeing her maid/slave from jail. Lily Owens finds it hard to believe when her father tells her that she accidentally killed her mother and that's what leads to run away. After some time on the road they reach a house with black women who have beehives and produce honey. The relationship that will develop between all of them shapes Lily's world forever and eventually she will find out more about her mother. The outside world can not understand this friendship between the young girl and the women but there Lily will learn about life, friendship and she will have better understanding of herself and her mother's actions.

I think the idea was to have us drawn to this coming of age story so we would end up understanding Lily and appreciating her changes and how she saw her world. Unfortunately I was never that interested in her and ended thinking this was a bit too light.

Grade: C+


  1. This is one of those books that I have been meaning to read for years but have never quite managed to do so.

    They are currently making a movie of this book which I think is coming out later in the year.

  2. I didn't think much of the book also...

  3. Marg, I'll be curious as to what you think of it!

    Fantasma I'm so happy I'm not alone!! :-)

  4. This book was strongly recommended to me by a very good friend, so I got it from the library as soon as I could. I recall that I enjoyed it, but that it took me a while to get in to it. I also recall that I enjoyed the little bits of knowledge about bees just as much as anything else!


I love to chat about books and stuff and I would love to hear from like minded readers. Please do leave me a comment :-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...