Secret Life of Bees, The
by Sue Monk Kidd
Category: Fiction / General
302 pages; ISBN: 0-14-200174-0
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Jeannine Van Eperen
The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd
Fourteen-year-old Lily lives with her father on a South Carolina peach farm. Lily has been told she killed her mother accidently when she was four. Lily remembers very little of the incident and of her mother. Her father is a taciturn and bitter man. Rosaleen used to work picking peaches but now acts as Lily’s nanny. The year is 1964, Rosaleen has learned that Negroes can now vote, and she wants this right. She and Lily go into town so that Rosaleen can register. In town the two get into a row with three of the town bullies and the women wind up in jail. Lily is soon released but Rosaleen is kept and beaten. Lily contrives to break out Rosaleen from the hospital where the woman is being treated for cuts and lacerations. On the lam, they manage to get too a honey farm in Tiberon, South Carolina. Lily had found a picture of a black Madona and the town’s name in a few things belonging to her mother that remained in the attic of her home. Three black women are keepers of bees and sell Black Mary honey. They live in a pink house and they take in Lily and Rosaleen. While living there, Lily comes to know herself better and is able to piece together her life and learn more about her mother.
Sue Monk Kidd weaves a beautiful story of love and hate and of the mother most women have within them. I admit, I put off reading this book, because I didn’t like the title, which just goes to show, don’t judge a book by its title. The Secret Live of Bees is a wonderful, well-written book, one of the best novels I’ve read. I heartily recommend reading this work. The reader not only gets a tender, inspiring read, but actually learns about bees and honey-making. I look forward to reading Ms Kidd’s next novel.
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