Set in 1964, Sue Monk Kidd’s novel The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of a teenage girl who is haunted by her mother’s death, ultimately leading her on a quest to explore her identity, love, and the truth about her mother’s life. While Lily runs away from her abusive and exceptionally harsh father, she faces consequences and learns to cope with loss and forgiveness. Together Lily and Rosaleen, her brave black housekeeper, embark on this wild journey to Tiburon, South Carolina where three extraordinary black beekeepers provide a safe haven and help guide them.
The characters in this novel are diverse and possess personality quirks that prove they are bold and willing to fight for what they believe in; yet a caring and passionate side of the characters is also revealed. By using a variety of literary devices such as imagery, flashbacks, metaphors, and personification, the author features the seething discrimination and hardships black faced during this time in the South.
Anyone looking for a relaxing way to end their weekend would love reading this book, particularly women, because Monk Kidd emphasizes the importance of a youthful girl becoming a wise woman. Although it is simple and enjoyable, it truly tells a mesmerizing story. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this novel an 8.5 because of its adoring characters, the unique setting and plot, and the brilliant hidden messages that require readers to search for a deeper meaning.