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The Secret Life of Bees Paperback – January 28, 2003
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"A moving first novel...Lily is an authentic and winning character and her story is compellingly told. The bees presage her journey toward self-acceptance, faith and freedom that is at the heart of this novel." —USA Today
"Inspiring. Sue Monk Kidd is a direct literary descendant of Carson McCullers." —The Baltimore Sun
"Fully imagined...the core of this story is Lily's search for a mother, and she finds one in a place she never expected." —The New York Times Book Review
"This is the story of a young girl's journey toward healing, and of the intrinsic sacredness of living in the world. Simply wonderful." —Anne Rivers Siddons
""The stunning metaphors and realistic characters are so poignant they will bring tears to your eyes." —Library Journal
"Kidd has written a triumphant coming-of-age novel that speaks to the universal need for love" —New Orleans Times-Picayune
"The chapters...dance on the edges of 'Magical Realism,' that blend of the fabulous and the ordinary that can invest a tale with a sense of wonderment, as is the case here." —Richmond Times-Dispatch
"I am amazed that this moving, original, and accomplished book is a first novel. It is wonderfully written, powerful, poignant, and humorous, and deliciously eccentric. Do read it." —Joanna Trollope
"A wonderful novel about mothers and daughters and the transcendent power of love." —Connie May Fowler
"A truly original Southern voice." —Anita Shreve
"It's as if Kidd loaded up a take-home plate with treats, and you said 'Oh, I couldn't,' and then scarfed it down in the car on the way home." —Entertainment Weekly
"The tale of one motherless daughter's discovery of what family really means—and of the strange and wondrous places we love." —The Washington Post
About the Author
Sue Monk Kidd's first novel, The Secret Life of Bees, spent more than one hundred weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold more than six million copies in the United States, and was turned into an award-winning major motion picture, and has been translated into thirty-six languages. Her second novel, The Mermaid Chair, was a number-one New York Times bestseller and adapted into a television movie. Her third novel, The Invention of Wings, was a number-one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club 2.0. She is also the author of several acclaimed memoirs, including the New York Times bestseller Traveling with Pomegranates, written with her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. She lives in Florida.
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On the way she argues with the town's worst racist, spits on his boot and is jailed. Lily Owens decides this is the moment to jail-bust Rosaleen and run away from home. They land up as fugitives in Tumaron with three sisters who have a connection with Lily's mother. Lily starts her journey towards forgiving herself, her mother and experiencing growing up in a loving household.
This book is memorable in several ways: Sue Monk Kidd's original, quirky, highly perceptive portrayal of life in the deep south; the serious issues of racism and religion are shown - not in the usual hackneyed way, but with an irreverence and humour that made me smile time and again. Picture a colourful group of eccentric sisters with a love for life, wearing flamboyant hats, gospel singing and dancing in a canga line; the story is poignant and the characters become complex, strong and wise. I enjoyed reading this story and once started had to see where it would lead.
One of the main messages of The Secret Life of Bees is that sometimes you must leave home to find home. Lilly knew that there was more to her mother’s past than what she had been told, and a twist of fate helped her find the answers she needed. She found protection from her abusive father with three surrogate mothers. The Secret Life of Bees is also about learning from your mistakes and accepting your flaws. Lilly learned that she accidentally killed her mother when she tried to hand a gun to her for protection from T Ray. She was stunned that she was capable of something like that and regarded herself as a horrible person. It took her a long time to come to terms with her actions and love herself. Finally, the most prevalent theme in the book is the importance of having love and compassion in your life. In addition to finding a place where she felt like she belonged, she also found loving home. This is not something she had experienced before as her father was abusive. When she found August, May, and June, she felt comforted and appreciated. She realized that one of the things that any human needs to grow and flourish is a nurturing family.
The Secret Life of Bees is a book that you will not want to put down. The story is intriguing because it captures the essence of what human beings desire to have- love, appreciation, and respect. The story is told from a young girl’s point of view and describes her journey to uncover her mother’s past. It is engaging because the reader does not understand all the details of her mother’s past until the end of the book, so it leaves the reader with a desire to uncover the mystery. I truly enjoyed this book and was a little sad when it was done. I highly recommend this amazing novel to everyone!