The Secret Life of Bees is a fiction novel set during 1964 in Sylvan and Tiburon South Carolina. As the story starts out, we as the reader are startled by the shocking and devastating story of a little girl who accidentally shot her mother. Lily wants desperately to be just like every other girl her age, and in order to learn the etiquette of a young lady, which she has missed out on, she dreams of attending the charm school during the spring, however, “she got barred because she didn’t have a mother, a grandmother, or even a measly aunt to present her with a white rose at the closing ceremony” (9). Told by the protagonist Lily, the story follows her along her quest for self-identification. Lily yearns to know more about her mother because her father refuses to speak a word about her.
After finding a picture of a Black Mary, with Tiburon, S.C. written on the back, amongst her mother’s possessions, Lily wonders if her mother had been to Tiburon and promises herself that one day she’d go there because she wanted to go everyplace her mother had been (15). With that, she ventures off with her nanny to find out if her mother did indeed go there.Not many books can really catch my attention; however, this book did just that. “The plotting is subtle and careful and exquisitely executed, enabling Kidd not just to make her points about (the irrationality of racism and the power of female community), but to tell a memorable story while she does” (Kephart 62).
She demonstrates how emotional the irrationality of racism really can be when Rosaleen, Lily’s nanny, goes out to try and vote and in turn angers a group of racist white men who beat her and then have her arrested. At the same time she highlights how the power of female community. .into their home, help her to find the answers she has been looking for, and introduce her to the life of bees and honey. Starting off giving the impression of being filled with sorrow, the novel gives away details of such a tragic event that occurred, and it turns out to be nothing like the impression given off. The book is filled with all the answers that Lily yearns for, and she is welcomed by several women throughout the book who fill that emptiness inside her.
This book serves a good read for anyone of any age: young or old.Works CitedKephart, Beth. “The Secret Life of Bees.” (undetermined). Book (Summit, N.J.
) 20 (2002): 61-62. Reader’s Guide Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson). Web.13 Nov.
2013Chee, Vernon. “Book Review: The Secret Life of Bees.” Blogcritics. N.p., N.
d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013Kidd, Sue Monk. The Secret Life of Bees. New York: Viking, 2002.