The Secret Life of Bees

September 30, 2008
By Jessica Ovitz, Colorado Springs, CO

The Secret Life of Bees is based in South Carolina during the Civil Rights Movement. It's about a teenage girl named Lily Owens who has spent her life trying to figure out the mystery behind her mother's life and death. Getting no help from her father - who is an angry, cold-hearted, peach farmer - she decides to run away and find answers. Ending up in Tiburon, South Carolina, she finds a clue that leads her to the “B” sister's door. While staying with them she finds love, friendship, faith, and a whole new way of life.

Lily Owens, a 14 year old teenager, is battling the hardships of high school bullies, growing up, and her irate father. She loves bees, the sisters', Zach, and Rosaleen. Her dislikes are the girls at school, T-Ray, and the peach stand. Lily is not like any other white girl during that time. Instead of living with a white family and having white friends, she is doing the opposite by living with a black family of sisters and falling in love with a black boy. She is questioned about her situation by every white person in Tiburon, but only gives them answers they don't want to hear.

The difficulties of growing up without a mother and not knowing if her father loves her hit Lily hard. Her main struggle was just trying to find herself. This was all disguised by her need for information about her mother. Another conflict was the one between the blacks and whites. The whites weren't ready to integrate yet, and made very violent moves towards the blacks in the town. This created more conflict throughout the story.

I really liked The Secret Life of Bees, because of all of the conflict. It was almost a mystery at the beginning, because there was all this question of Lily's mother and what happened to her. It was sad and emotional because of the way Lily longed for someone to love her or just to have a friend. You could tell she was used to living this life, but it bothered her a lot. I enjoyed how there were several conflicts throughout the story and each one had a different answer to it that seemed to make it better. I would recommend this book to anyone. It is a good size, and has a good theme to it.

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