Monday, January 19, 2009
The Secret Life of Bees
I'll start out with one I absolutely love, The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. It's a story about a white preteen girl, Lily, who grows up in the segregated south. Through events at the beginning of the story, she ends up staying with a black family of bee-keeping sisters in South Carolina. This is one of those books I don't want to ruin by giving too much of the plot away, but it's really not the plot that makes the book so darn good.
Lily's voice, as the narrator, rings true throughout the whole book. Lily's openness, and point-blank honesty with the reader makes her feel absolutely real, and makes you cheer her on the whole time. The book is mostly about Lily's journey to find forgiveness, and ultimately, love. Not a romantic kind of love, although there is some of that, but a love that comes from the people you make your family.
Kidd is basically a fantastic writer. Even the first few pages are just great. She has a real gift for creating an atmosphere. You feel like you are standing right there with Lily, even if you've never experienced the kind of things Kidd is talking about, like laying in a bed all alone with bees dancing around your head, or taking a first taste of sweet, purple honey. This is the kind of book you really get sucked into. Lily's comments about life made me laugh, and I cried like a baby more than once. There are some underlying currents in the book, racial segregation being the most notable one. However, the issue isn't pushy or obtrusive, and it gets across a really great message. As far as age range for the book, I would say any adult needs to read it, and kids should probably be in their teens. I'll put the maturity warnings at the bottom, but they are definitely spoilers, so if you don't need to know, don't look. Rest assured, there is nothing sexual.
Overall just a great book. If you want to buy it, and you definitely should, you can click on this link to get it on amazon- The Secret Life of Bees or you can hike on down to your local library :)
WARNING- deals with some mature content like death and suicide