Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees
By Sue Monk Kidd

Have you ever heard, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover”? This book, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd may have a misleading title. You might think that it is all about bees. True, you will learn some interesting facts about bees and beekeeping, but it is really about a 14 year old girl looking for answers to some very important questions.

How would you feel if your mother died from an accidental shooting accident when you were four years old and you were told that you were instrumental in her death? This is the story of such a young lady, Lily Owens. This makes for a fascinating story in itself, but what makes it so enjoyable to read is the wonderful descriptions and interesting characters and Lily’s relationships with these characters.

Set in the American South in 1964, the year of the Civil Rights Act and intensifying racial unrest, Lily lives isolated on a South Carolina peach farm with a neglectful and harsh father. Although she is aware of the boundaries and tensions that exist between blacks and whites, the only love that Lily has received has come from her feisty African American nanny, Rosaleen. Lily can’t understand why the color of a person’s skin is so important, since it has nothing to do with the quality of a person as she so aptly expresses in this quote from the book…

Up until then I'd thought that white people and colored people getting along was the big aim, but after that I decided everybody being colorless together was a better plan. I'd thought of that policeman, Eddie Hazelwurst, saying I'd lowered myself to be in this house of colored women, and for the life of me I couldn't understandhow it had turned out this way, how colored women had become the lowest ones on the totem pole. You only had to look at them to see how special they were, like hidden royalty among us.

Sue Monk Kidd's, The Secret Life of Bees , is a powerful story of coming-of-age and of the ability of love to transform our lives. Join Lily in her journey out of her secret life as she heals under the influence of the love of her new mothers, Rosaleen and the calendar sisters May, June, and August Boatwright as she learns the challenges of becoming a beekeeper.


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