The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

September 30, 2011
By Michelle Williams BRONZE, Oxford, Massachusetts
Michelle Williams BRONZE, Oxford, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd

In the 1960’s, even with the Civil Rights Act being signed into law, Americans continued to be blinded by skin color. Sue Monk Kidd’s, The Secret Life of Bees, conveys an empowering story of racial womanhood as Lily Owen journeys to discover a connection with her mother who was killed in a tragic accident. After years of abuse by her father, T. Ray, Lily builds up the courage to leave home and her oppressive life with him. Lily is a prime example of feminine survival and determination during the 1960’s. She travels with her black nanny, Rosaleen, throughout the towns of South Carolina where she soon encounters the disgraceful relationships that exist between whites and blacks.
Kidd does a great job proving that skin color should not affect the true meaning of family and love. Lily and Rosaleen are kindly taken in by the Boatwright girls, a black family in Tiburon, South Carolina. Lily, although white, develops a love for the black community, particularly August Boatwright, who quickly becomes the motherly presence in Lily’s life. Lily meets and unexpectedly falls in love with Zachary Taylor. She repeatedly questions herself whether a mixed relationship is even possible. Kidd portrays Lily as an overly mature, young individual with high personal expectations.
After searching for several months to find answers, Lily finally learns about her birth mother. This gives her closure and the awareness that one cannot dwell on the past but should look to the opportunities in the future. Was it fate that drew Lily to the Boatwright family, changing her life from tortured and abused to cherished and loved? I would highly recommend this inspirational novel to any teen or young adult interested in reading about women power and determination.

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