Sue Monk Kidd's first novel The Secret Life of Bees, a warm-hearted tale from South Carolina in the 1960s, a New York Times bestseller for over 125 weeks, and a Good Morning America "Read This" Book Club pick
Fans of The Helpwill love the Southern coming of age tale of Sue Monk Kidd. The Secret ... Life of Beeswas for more than 125 weeks a New York Timesbestseller, picked a Good Morning America "Read This" Book Club and made into an award-winning film starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys. Set in 1964 in South Carolina, The Secret Life of Bees appeals to fans of Kathryn Stockett's The Helpand Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life was shaped around the blurred afternoon memory of her mother's death.
When Rosaleen, Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," insults three of the city's most vicious racists, Lily decides that both should escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—a city that holds the secret to the past of her mother. There they are taken in by an excentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey and the Black Madonna presiding over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love—a story that will be shared by women and passed on to their daughters over years.
Knowing can be a curse on a person's life. I'd traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn't know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can't ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.
I hadn't been out to the hives before, so to start off she gave me a lesson in what she called 'bee yard etiquette'. She reminded me that the world was really one bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places. Don't be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don't be an idiot; wear long sleeves and pants. Don't swat. Don't even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates while whistling melts a bee's temper. Act like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.
...the controversy reminded me of the hoopla surrounding The Da Vince Code, but not to that extent. To those who hold such beliefs and refuse to read The Secret Life Of Bees because of this, I would say, you are missing a well-crafted piece of literature and an elegantly-written story.
...while I enjoyed reading this book, with its rich narrative and characters, it does read like a fairy tale. The hideous racism and violence of life in the US, north and south, is not depicted realistically in comparison to the beautiful, pastoral setting and peace of life with the Boatwright women.