Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: The Secret Life of Bees By: Sue Monk Kidd

Review: The Secret Life of Bees
By: Sue Monk Kidd
Released January 28, 2003
Published by: Penguin
Genre: Fiction

The Story: (from 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.

My Review: I enjoyed this book. It is narrated with the voice of Lilly who just turns 14 when the book opens and is set in South Carolina. The story opens with the tragic memories she holds of her mother and the abuse she receives from her father. This all revolves around the signing of the civil rights act into law in the 1960's. Lilly makes a daring choice in rescuing Rosaleen after her run in with the town racists.

Lilly's main goal in life is her search for her mother. Who she was, what happened, why is her life the way it is? She cries at one point that there is no way that god would give her 2 parents that don't love her. She ends up at the home of 3 sisters. All of this is played out in the back drop of a home of 3 sisters who happen to be beekeepers. Through all of the women Lilly learns what she needs to know about a mothers love and lessons of self truth. The story is of love, redemption and healing. I watched the movie as soon as I finished the book and it was just as heart warming as the book.

I give the rating of a 3 because although the book has a good story line, it was similar to so many typical southern writings of this time and was average. The book was very predictable to story book happy endings. The movie was great addition. I watched it with my 9 year old daughter and she enjoyed it as well.


She said...

I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. The characters just drew me into the story. Even learning about bees was interesting. I thought they did a good job on the movie also.

Books4Learning said...

One of my favorite books and a beautiful movie. The only thing I did not like about it was the whole worship of the statue and giving it supernatural abilities. It was a bit over the top. The story and relationships are amazing though.