Review: The Secret Life of Bees
When I was first given a copy of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, I wasn’t sure what to think of it. It made it to the bookshelf, and occasionally, I would pick it up, read the back, and place it back on the shelf. I just wasn’t interested. Until I actually started reading it…
What finally prompted me to read The Secret Life of Bees is its placement on my Summer Reading Challenge List, and the fact it was short. What prompted me to finish is Sue Monk Kidd’s fantastic writing and ability to tell a story. Lily Owens has wondered all her life about her mother, who died tragically when she was young. She misses her mother, who lives blurred on the outskirts of her memory as she is raised by her abusive and angry father, T-Ray.
Following an incident where Rosaleen insults some of the meanest racists in town, Lily and Rosaleen escape their difficult life in Sylvan, South Carolina and head for Tiburon with a picture of a Black Madonna and a vague notion that the story of her mother lies in that town. Their search ends at a pink house where three black sisters reside and keep bees and they are taken in.
As I mentioned, the writing is phenomenal. Sue Monk Kidd has the amazing ability to paint a picture with words, and paint she does, showing us the world through the eyes of fourteen year old Lily. Isolated on her father’s farm, she doesn’t completely understand the racism that surrounds her until she is thrown into the middle of it. In Tiburon, Lily discovers who she is, and finally has the freedom to embrace who she wants to be.
Although painfully tragic in places, the descriptions are fantastic, and the characters well developed. I give The Secret Life of Bees five stars.