Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees
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.

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads.

I thought this was a sweet little story. Lily is just a lost little girl, struggling with her need for family. Her mother had been taken from her in a tragic accident and her father is cruel and unfeeling. Her only friend, Rosaleen, is the woman her father pays to take care of her.My heart broke for this poor little girl in the beginning but I cheered at the growth she underwent throughout the book. 

I loved the Boatwright sisters. Each one had a unique personality and voice. I loved their strength. These women are dealing with incredible oppression but they never once play the victim role. They just go about their lives working to overcome their circumstance. I felt a kinship with May. I don't feel things quite so personally as she does but I do cry at the drop of a hat. Anything overly sad or even happy endings make me tear up like I'd just sliced open an onion. June was a tougher nut to crack but deep down, she's just like the rest of us, scared of being hurt. Then there was August. August is the type of woman I hope to be one day. She's smart, caring, and thoughtful without being overbearing. By the end of the book, I wanted to be adopted into this pink house filled with great women.

I loved the idea that a family doesn't have to be the one you're born into. That a sense of family can develop despite age, race, gender or any other circumstance. As the Beatles said 'all you need is love'. This book was all about finding love, forgiveness and family, sometimes in the most unlikely of places.


The Book Gatherer said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this book. It's one of my favourites - and also a favourite of my mother-in-law's! Have you seen the movie? It's actually quite well done. I have another Sue Monk Kidd on my bookshelf, The Mermaid Chair, but haven't managed to pick it up yet.

Bookscount Blogs said...

This is truly a lovely novel. As the previous commenter said the movie is very close to the novel and is very well cast. You would surely enjoy it

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