Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Review: The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees
By Sue Monk Kidd
336 pages

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, since before I even knew they were making it into a movie. I just never got around to it! I even had it held at one point at the library, but never got to it. Then I went to the library book sale and as I was checking out with my goods, I saw the woman collecting money sorting through a stack of books. This one was in that stack so I asked if it was going back into the "sale" piles and she said that it was one of the ones that she was taking. I just shrugged and said alright and went to pay for my books. Then she turned to me and goes "ya know what? I have a huge stack of books to read yet...are you going to be coming back next month?" Um, YES! I love rummaging through piles and piles of books. "Alright," she says, "I'll put my name on a post it in this one and you take it tonight and just bring it back to me next month." I was kind of in shock that she would let me take her book, when I've never met her before! Who says there aren't kind, trusting people still out there in the world!? So, it was by a stanger's act of kindness that this book ended up at the top of my nightstand pile, and boy, am I happy it did!

The Secret Life of Bees is a story of a 14 year old girl whose mother died when she was young and she is living with her jerk of a father, T. Ray, and a black "stand in mother" named Rosaleen. It's 1964 in South Carolina so you can cut the racial tension with a knife. When Rosaleen heads to town (with Lily) to register to vote, she gets in a load of trouble by insulting three white men. Lily, wanting to escape her life with T. Ray, help Rosaleen, and learn more about her mother, breaks Rosaleen out of jail and heads to Tiburon, SC. This particular town was written on the back of a picture of a black Mary that had belonged to her mother.

In Tiburon, Lily and Rosaleen are taken in by the Boatwright sisters, three African American women named August, May, and June. They are beekeepers and August teaches Lily the ropes. Through it all, Lily begins to trust and love August despite the racial stigmas in place in the time and learns about her mother and who her father used to be.

The story is touching and the writing is just beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and will be looking to pick up the other novel by Sue Monk Kidd, The Mermaid Chair. Oh, and I want to see the movie now. Dakota Fanning isn't what I pictured Lily looking like (since she's described as having dark hair) but I love her and I thought that Queen Latifah would play Rosaleen but really QL is playing August and Jennifer Hudson is playing Rosaleen...not what I was picturing but it looks good!

9 out of 10 stars.

1 comment:

  1. When I used to wait tables, I would always ask the skeezy nerds who dined alone what they were reading because it always = a better tip. Also, I was interested (in the books).

    One time this guy was reading some geeky fantasy novel, and we started talking about fantasy in general and the Dark Tower series by Stephen King in particular. Books 6 and 7 (the final 2) had just come out, but they were still in hardcover at the bookstore (read: $50 each) and the library queue was eleventy-billion people long for both of them.

    Eventually, this guy goes home. Twenty minutes later, he's back with his copies of both. 'Email me when you're done,' he says. 'I'll come pick them up.' I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW HIS NAME and I had $100 worth of his books in my hands.

    Book people are good people.