The multi-million bestselling novel about a young girl's journey towards healing and the transforming power of love, from the award-winning author of The Invention of Wings and the forthcoming novel The Book of Longings
Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sister, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine female power, a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Sue Monk Kidd’s inspiring coming-of-age novel touches on deep topics like race, religion, and motherhood. Fourteen-year-old Lily, who lives on a South Carolina peach farm in 1964, is haunted by her mother’s mysterious death and her father’s abuse. When Lily’s African American housekeeper Rosaleen is arrested for fighting back against three racists, the two women flee, hiding out at a nearby beekeeper’s farm. As Lily connects with a trio of sisters who illuminate her past and future, a heartrending and sincere story about women’s power unfolds. The Secret Life of Bees beautifully reflects the honeycomb-like complexity of our interconnected lives.
Honey-sweet but never cloying, this debut by nonfiction author Kidd (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter) features a hive's worth of appealing female characters, an offbeat plot and a lovely style. It's 1964, the year of the Civil Rights Act, in Sylvan, S.C. Fourteen-year-old Lily is on the lam with motherly servant Rosaleen, fleeing both Lily's abusive father T. Ray and the police who battered Rosaleen for defending her new right to vote. Lily is also fleeing memories, particularly her jumbled recollection of how, as a frightened four-year-old, she accidentally shot and killed her mother during a fight with T. Ray. Among her mother's possessions, Lily finds a picture of a black Virgin Mary with "Tiburon, S.C." on the back so, blindly, she and Rosaleen head there. It turns out that the town is headquarters of Black Madonna Honey, produced by three middle-aged black sisters, August, June and May Boatwright. The "Calendar sisters" take in the fugitives, putting Lily to work in the honey house, where for the first time in years she's happy. But August, clearly the queen bee of the Boatwrights, keeps asking Lily searching questions. Faced with so ideally maternal a figure as August, most girls would babble uncontrollably. But Lily is a budding writer, desperate to connect yet fiercely protective of her secret interior life. Kidd's success at capturing the moody adolescent girl's voice makes her ambivalence comprehensible and charming. And it's deeply satisfying when August teaches Lily to "find the mother in (herself)" a soothing lesson that should charm female readers of all ages.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Thought provoking read
Nice book. Easy to pick up. Some tips on life and living.
This book was a sometimes interesting, somtimes boring read. I thought it was going to be an excellent book for the first 3 or so chapters then it took a turn for the worst until chapter 9. Then again, I am a 15 year old kid reading this for english class and I think girls my age and older would enjoy it thoroughly. The could relate and understand to the events going on throughout the story better.
This book is wonderful if your not an idiot like the guy two comments down. It is a moving story, rife with emotional character development. And yes, even a few choice swear words that give an heir of authenticity to the time period it takes place in, about a way of life and thinking that was once a very real part of our own history. Great read :)