May 20, 2008
Book Review: The Secret Life of Bees
This is the story of 14 yr old Lily Owens, living in South Carolina in 1964. A time of race riots and the signing of the Civil Rights Act, which plays a significant role in what happens. Lily tells the story of her quest to find answers about her mother since she died when Lily was 4 years old. Why did she disappear for three months? How did she die? Was I responsible? And the biggest question of all - Did she love me? Her story takes us from the peach farm in Sylvan, where she lives with her racist, angry father who she calls T.Ray, to a pink house in Tiburon, a couple hundred miles away, where three colored sisters who are named after calendar months live. She doesn't know why, but she believes this is the place that holds the key to her mothers' mysterious, short life.
I don't want to give anything away for those who haven't read the book, but i will say that the relationships Lily forms with these people change her life. August Boatwright, the beekeeper, quickly becomes someone Lily trusts and you can feel the yearning she has for August to love her. She is desperate for a mothers love. The main thing Lily is searching for is some sort of a sign from her own mother that she was loved and that she didn't leave her, despite what her father tells her. His bitterness and anger pushes Lily further and further away until one day, thru a sequence of events, she makes the decision to run away and try to find answers, at the same time protecting a friend who is in trouble.
Through Lily, Sue Monk Kidd tells the story with an innocence that warms your heart. But even with the innocence, its plain to see that Lily is a smart girl who thinks quick on her feet and is loyal to people she cares about. I admire the way Ms. Kidd writes - her phrases are beautifully written. She puts things in a way that you never thought of. Its simple, but lovely. This book tells a wonderful story and I enjoyed every single page. This is one of my all time favorites. I recommend THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES to any mother, daughter, sister or friend and I know they won't be disappointed.