It's the summer of 1964 in South Carolina, and Lily Owens, a motherless girl of 14 years old, is searching for her mother's past, searching for the truth, and running away from her father. Lily is also searching for the things a girl can only get from a mother - love, home, a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with. Using the beehives as a metaphor for life, Sue Monk Kidd brings Lily to the home of three women who become stand-in mothers for her. They give her love and a home, but more importantly, they show her the love and strength she has inside herself.
What a beautifully written book. I must have marked at least a dozen passages in THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, but I will share with you a few of my favorite lines:
- - Now and then sprays of rain flew over and misted our faces. Every time I refused to wipe away the wetness. It made the world seem so alive to me. I couldn't help but envy the way a good storm got everyone's attention. Pg. 75
- - Lying on the cot in the honey house, though, all I could think was August is so intelligent, so cultured, and I was surprised by this. That's what let me know I had some prejudice buried inside me. Pg. 78
- - "...She liked to tell everybody that women made the best beekeepers, 'cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. 'It comes from years of loving children and husbands,' she'd say." - August, pg. 143
- - "You know, some things don't matter that much, Lily. Like the color of a house. How big is that in the over-all scheme of life? But lifting a person's heart - now, that matters...The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters." - August, pg 147
One of my Reading Resolutions for 2012 was to read books that I have been longing to read for some time (not just the shiny new ones), and THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES was at the top of my list. My neighbor told me to read it years ago, and when it came in my mailbox a few weeks ago, I knew it was time. I am so glad I read it, as it is now securely placed on my Favorites shelf.
Read it. Share it with your book club. Give it to your sister.
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THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES (10th Anniversary Edition) by Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd is a writer, novelist and memoirist. She was born in Albany, Georgia and raised in the tiny town of Sylvester, Georgia, a place that deeply influenced the writing of her first novel The Secret Life of Bees.
Imagine my delight when I learned there was a movie - with Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson!! (I know what movie I'll be watching this weekend!)