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Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees”

by Kyra Ferguson

Lily Owens grew up without her mother, who died in a tragic accident when Lily was four. She is abused and neglected by her father. He hires an African American maid Rosaleen, who serves as Lily’s stand-in mother for ten years. When Rosaleen is arrested and threatened by the most extreme racists in their town, Lily doesn’t hesitate to spring Rosaleen free, sending Lily on a journey of self discovery as she learns about the mother she never knew.

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees is a critically acclaimed best-seller from 2002. It is impossible not to adore the family that Lily finds and claims as her own, the family that finally accepts her far better than the one she had before. I was not disappointed at all by this read.

The story takes place in 1964, so there is some racial tension and uncertainty. Lily Owens is a Caucasian, and almost all of the supporting characters are African American. Caucasian characters in the book are portrayed as the villains, with the exception of Lily.

Most characters are strong, developed characters. There are few characters that lack a variety of emotion. Lily, the main character, almost always feels guilt over the death of her mother.

Despite Lily’s emotional twists and turns and the “where do I belong?” feeling, The Secret Life of Bees is a fun, humorous read.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars. The Secret Life of Bees is warm and a feel good book, but doesn’t lack on the realistic twists in life such as death.