Friday, May 30, 2008

BOOK: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Southern Reading Challenge, Herding Cats

I've seen this book listed on every list of books where people get to nominate their favorite books, and now I know why. Set in South Carolina in 1964, against the civil rights backdrop, it is the story of a young girl trying to find someone to care about her, a mother to love her. Lily runs away from her widowed father, T Ray, with her black housekeeper, as Lily is looking for some connection to her mother. She ends up at a pink house with three black bee keeping sisters in a neighbouring community. There she learns about bees, love, forgiveness, and mothers.

I would put this one on the short list of books worth reading again. The spiritual level of looking for forgiveness and finding love within yourself, as exemplified with the Black Madonna Mary was beautiful. The writing of Kidd to set the scene of South Carolina in the summer was breath taking, and I couldn't wait to immerse myself in her world every time I picked up the book. The voice of the narrator was wise and yet oh so human, with emotions of love and jealousy and anger. But the overall strength of the women was my favorite part, and an antidote after the past few books I've read. It made me proud to be a woman and see some amazing girl power.

Having said that about girl power, T Ray and his cranky foul moods and his behavior at the end made me really wonder about him. What was he like when Lily's mom met him? How did he deal with her abandonment and then death? What were his thoughts about Lily? He is a character that I would like to read this story of from his perspective. Did he analyze his actions and their ramifications afterward? I just feel there was a lot more to T Ray, and he could star in his own novel.

If you've written a review of this book, leave me a link in the comments.


  1. Great review! I'll be reading this soon too.

  2. I really enjoyed this book, too! :)

  3. nicola - thanks, hope you like it too.

    joy - such a lovely tone to the whole book.

  4. I'm glad you liked it. I feel like I need to re-read this one just to see what I missed. I thought it was good, but I didn't think it was as good as everyone said it was. Maybe there was just too much hype. Water for Elephants was kind of the same way for me--good but don't see what the fuss is about.

  5. I LOVED this book - read it the first time on my own and just sped through it because I couldn't put it down. Then a couple of months later I re-read it for a book club and that time I was able to read it slowly and just savor the wonderful writing.

  6. Glad you liked it! I was less impressed by her follow-up, The Mermaid Chair.

  7. I loved this book. I read it in my pre-blogging days, so no review. :-)

  8. I read this one for the challenge last year and like you I was very impressed. Here's a link to my post.


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