The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

September 30, 2011
By Nicolette Gaulard BRONZE, Oxford, Massachusetts
Nicolette Gaulard BRONZE, Oxford, Massachusetts
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, a novel based in the year 1964, introduced Lily Owens, the protagonist, as a young white girl on a journey. Watching her mother die at the age of four was difficult, however finding out that she shot the gun was worse. The obvious resentment T. Ray, her father, had for Lily showed through the abusiveness and cruelty towards her. Many times he forced Lily to kneel on grit until her knees bled. The physical and verbal abuse that Lily endured caused her to make a drastic decision. Running away with Rosaleen, their black housekeeper, felt like her only option of finding answer about her mother, but when she found what she was searching for she did not have the courage to learn the answers.
Lily’s adventure led to the Boatwright sisters, August, May, and June, who took the girls in with open arms. All three sisters were black, but they were well-known in town for their honey. Rosaleen help one of the sister in the kitchen and Lily helped August collect the honey from the bees. Conflicts with Lily and her father, Lily and herself, and May with the issues she has dealt with everyday of her life all have resolutions but some are unexpected. August always said that bees live a “secret life.” Lily related to the bees because she was also living a “secret life.”

This story is filled with love, hate, racism, and death. All Lily wanted was maternal love, which was lost the day her mother died. Lily did not realize that “motherly” love did not have to come from a biological mother. She had four unique women in her life that loved her like a real mother would. Also, Lily is not a racist but she grew up learning that whites are “superior” to blacks. As the story progressed, she learned that blacks are no different than whites. While reading, this book could make anyone laugh, smile, and even cry. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading inspirational stories.

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