Reviews of The Secret Life of Bees

    • Kirkus

      By summer’s end, Lily knows a great deal of bee lore and also finds the right moment to learn what really happened to her mother. Despite some dark moments, more honey than vinegar.

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    • Blog Critics
      5 

      ...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.

      Sep 20, 2004 Read full review
    • About.com Bestsellers
      4 

      It is a lovingly written drama that keeps the pages turning. I highly recommend The Secret Life of Bees, especially to women and women's book clubs.

      Feb 12, 2016 Read full review
    • MostlyFiction Book Reviews

      ...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.

      Jan 20, 2014 Read full review
    • Spirituality & Practice
      4 

      This story, like all her writing, is characterized by a keen reverence for the healing and transforming power of love.

      Sep 09, 2014 Read full review
    • Seven Ponds

      Altogether, this is a very enjoyable book. Though, as is often the case anyways, you might have to tell and remind yourself to enjoy it in the first place.

      Aug 03, 2012 Read full review
    • Teen Ink

      Bees have a great meaning throughout the book. The bees first buzzed around in Lily’s room during the night. They intrigued her and give her the courage to leave T Ray. Bees taught her love. Bees live their life in secret like Lily’s life was a secret to the Boatwright sisters...

      Jan 28, 2014 Read full review
    • Teen Ink
      5 

      The Secret Life of Bees is one of my favorite books of all time for its captivating story line, and amazing female characters. It is an incredible journey of following, watching, and going through the pain and joy of the remarkable protagonist, Lily Owens. If you enjoy a spectacular story line...this book is for you!

      Jan 28, 2014 Read full review
    • Teen Ink
      4 

      This book absolutely grabbed me and made me read. As my eyes sprinted over the words, I began to feel the characters’ pain and emotions...Lily’s mission is to find out about her mother’s mysterious past and who she really was. Bravery. Racism. Love. Those are the words that represent this story best.

      Feb 07, 2012 Read full review
    • Teen Ink
      4 

      The Secret Life of Bees is a wonderful novel. Lily escapes from her father, masters the art of making honey, and learns of the mystery of the Black Madonna. The reader will learn about a time of friendship and hatred in one of the greatest turning points of America.

      Feb 25, 2010 Read full review
    • Always With A Book
      4 

      This is the type of book that stays with you long after you finish the book. The lyrical writing, the characters, the setting all combine to create such a powerful story.

      Feb 07, 2014 Read full review
    • https://suite101.com

      There are novels that are motivated by complex plots; there are novels peopled with memorable characters; and there are novels with fascinating factual frameworks. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd uses all three devices to create a compelling and enjoyable book.

      Jan 10, 2009 Read full review
    • Tiny Library

      I thought the topic was interesting, and the real strength of the book was the way that I got such a sense of time and place...But I couldn't love this book. The main problem was that it was too sweet and saccharine...I did enjoy the book and it was hard to put down, but it's not one I would pick up again.

      Aug 19, 2011 Read full review
    • One Librarian's Book Reviews
      4 

      There is just something about a story like this...where a young girl manages to rise above the tragedies in her life, even if she is the author of some of those tragedies. Thoughtful, interesting, a book to be savored. I kept marking passages that I found beautiful or poignant and ended up with way too many to share here.

      Mar 27, 2010 Read full review
    • Book Loving Mommy
      5 

      It was a heart-warming novel that I think every young girl should read. It was easy to read and I never once found it moving slowly or found myself being bored at all...All in all, I have to say that I absolutely fell in love with this coming-of-age book! I would reccomend this book to anyone and everyone!

      Oct 16, 2010 Read full review
    • https://bookjourney.wordpress.com
      4 

      If you have not yet treated yourself to The Secret Life Of Bees I encourage you to do so. You are in for a sweet experience.

      Mar 11, 2014 Read full review
    • Publishers Weekly

      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. (

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    • Entertainment Weekly

      As cliché and cutesy as the story may sound, it's actually quite comforting, thanks to lovely writing and vivid, kind characters.

      Feb 22, 2002 Read full review
    • About.com Bestsellers

      I recommend The Secret Life of Bees. It is a wonderful debut novel that makes a quick and thoughtful weekend read.

      Sep 09, 2014 Read full review
    • Curious Book Fans
      4 

      ...not only did Lily come across as a very real character, the sense of place was so good you could almost smell the honey coming off the pages...One or two bits of the plot consequently didn’t quite work for me, but on the whole this was a satisfying read and one that I felt was worth the time I invested in it.

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    • Story Circle Book Reviews

      What a pleasure it is to read a book full of love, hope and miracles. It is a modern fairy tale about Lily—an abused, poor white kid and the black woman who cares for the girl after her mother dies. Lily narrates the story.

      Oct 04, 2002 Read full review
    • Teen Ink
      4 

      The Secret Life of Bees not only appeals to teenagers but also to anyone who appreciates a story that can make you laugh and cry and think about it a week later and laugh and cry all over again. Its message of love and independence shines brightly from its pages and warms your heart, like the sun on a hot, hazy summer day.

      Sep 30, 2014 Read full review
    • Teen Ink

      I liked it and it was pretty interesting actually (the bees, the Boatright sisters, the writing style). However, sometimes I felt that the story was unbelievable, too dramatic, and extended unnecessarily.

      Jan 28, 2014 Read full review
    • Teen Ink

      The characters seem so real that I could picture each with her particular feelings. However, a slow plot and excessive details were weaknesses...Overall The Secret Life of Bees was very enjoyable. From the heartbreaking moments to the heartwarming ones, it will not disappoint.

      Jan 28, 2014 Read full review
    • Teen Ink
      4 

      The Secret Life of Bees marries together a great deal of themes, symbols, and ideas that all help to shape Lily Owens. Through the people she meets, the stories she hears, the events she witnesses, and the knowledge she gains, Lily grows from an abused young girl into a strong young woman

      Jul 22, 2011 Read full review
    • Book Loons

      And Lily learns more than she ever wanted to know about the injustices of the world and the truth about her parents. If the book stopped there, it would be an angry, unsatisfying story. Wisely, it moves on. It is not enough for Lily to learn the truth, she must learn the truth of her own heart...

      Jan 28, 2014 Read full review
    • Lit Lovers

      The book is replete with metaphors: the beehive, honey, and queen bee stand in for concepts of home, love, and the uber-feminine...Still, I enjoyed reading Bees, very much. Kidd's prose is light and fluid, creating a fable-like aura in parts. And Lily's adolescent voice is perfectly pitched.

      Mar 01, 2007 Read full review
    • The Novel World
      4 

      The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is a very heartfelt and touching coming of age story centered around fourteen year old Lily Owens in 1964 South Carolina. ...Kidd had a strong variety of themes running through the novel; social commentary on racism in the south, religious theme...

      Aug 18, 2008 Read full review
    • A Novel Menagerie
      4 

      I’m allergic to bee stings. Because of this, I am terrified of bees. This book teaches you to be still and just send the bees love. The bees will feel your love and will not sting you. I’m going to try it! For the genre Fiction:Women’s/Historical:American, I am going to rate this book a 9 OUT OF 10.

      Jan 28, 2014 Read full review
    • A Fantastical Librarian

      While I really enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees, on closer consideration it’s very much a flawed novel, but still one worth reading if one takes its flaws into account.

      Feb 22, 2014 Read full review
    • https://astripedarmchair.wordpress.com

      That casual perusal turned into a day-long marathon reading session; I simply couldn’t put the book down. When I finished it, I had that satisfied reader’s glow.

      Jul 01, 2007 Read full review