“The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd

By Anna Kulawiec

In Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, survival for Lily Owens in 1964 South Carolina is a daily struggle. Her indistinct past and grim present prompt a subconscious desire for an extraordinary future. As a result, Lily and her black maid run away from their trapped life and find themselves in Tiburon, South Carolina, in the home of three black beekeeper ladies.  Throughout the story, each woman finds herself questioning life as she knows it, and comes to find a piece of herself in the Black Mary, honey, and all that rests in between. Though the novel tells of numerous hope-inducing stories, Lily’s narration is far too naïve for that of a teenager in her position, and subsequently, I rate the novel an eight out of ten. However, the simplistic views define The Secret Life of Bees, for Lily is able to experience her life clearly, without the racial prejudices and biases which haunt other characters. Kidd’s use of the heated Southern setting allows for each woman’s tale to shine and therefore, The Secret Life of Bees would particularly interest women, especially teenagers, for Kidd highlights details of journeying from girl to woman.

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