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The Secret Life
of Bees
by Sue Monk Kidd
Book Review by Amy Coffin
Fourteen year-old Lily Owens has fuzzy memories of the day her mother died ten years ago. Since the tragic incident, Lily has lived with her incapable, abusive father and Rosaleen, her “stand-in mother.” Lily and Rosaleen run into trouble one day in town. Racial tensions are high in 1964 South Carolina. The pair is forced to flee their town for their own safety.

With little direction, Lily leads Rosaleen to Tiburon, South Carolina on a hunt to find information about her mother. Fate guides them to a trio of beekeeping sisters who provide shelter and guidance while allowing Lily to discover her own answers in time. The result of these intersecting lives is detailed in The Secret Life of Bees.

Sue Monk Kidd weaves an extraordinary multi-faceted coming-of-age tale. Civil rights and community unrest provide a powerful historic backdrop. The symphonic harmony of bees and their hives provide the magic. Kidd creates a colorful cast that enacts this heartfelt novel.

The Secret Life of Bees is an impressive fictional debut for Kidd. She moves the story along gracefully. Her descriptions of the setting transport readers to another time and place. This is a thought-provoking tale on many levels, which makes it a perfect book club selection or gift for the avid reader in your life.

Note: The Penguin edition of The Secret Life of Bees (ISBN 0-14-200174-0) includes a Reader’s Guide that has a conversation with Sue Monk Kidd and questions for discussion.


Sue Monk Kidd.com

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