103. The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Pages: 302
Finished: June 6, 2008
First Published: 2002
Genre: southern fiction
Rating: 5/5

Reason for Reading: Southern Challenge

First sentence:

At night I would lie in bed and watch the show, how bees squeezed though the cracks of my bedroom wall and flew circles around the room, making that propeller sound, a high-pitched zzzzzz that hummed along my skin.

Comments: Lily's mother died tragically when she was 4 years old and she has lived the last 10 years with an abusive father and a black housekeeper. One day Lily has had enough and at 14 years old runs away, with the housekeeper, to find out about her mother. This is a beautiful story of a girl who searches for a mother she never knew and in the process finds how to fill that empty hole with faith and a mother figure.

This is a beautiful story. Set in 1960s South Carolina is deals with the racial relations of the times and the coming of the civil rights movement but these events are only a background for the story. It is within this backdrop that Lily, a white girl, comes to find a home and acceptance with a large black family of women. I loved this book, the characters, the setting, everything was just perfect. A wonderfully told story which really touched and uplifted my heart, having lost my own mother. Recommended.


  1. I loved this book too - when I read it the first time I just zipped through it because I couldn't put it down. A few months later I re-read it for a book group and was able to just slow down and savor the writing. Unfortunately I thought her next book (The Mermaid Chair) was awful.

  2. Yes, I've been reading reviews on Mermaid Chair and it doesn't sound like anything I'd enjoy. I wish she'd write another like this one!

  3. I loved this one, too. I have had The Mermaid Chair sitting on my shelf for a while, and I keep going back and forth whether or not to give it a try.

  4. Forget Kidd wrote The Mermaid's Chair; otherwise, you will be comparing the whole way through and it is a totally different story.

    Yay, 2 down one to go! How does it feel knowing you are about to be through with the challenge? ;)

  5. Maggie, kinda sad actually :( I just love Southern Fiction and never get around to it as much as I'd like.

  6. I've heard such lovely things about this book - I'll have to read it. Thanks for the review.

  7. I read this one a few years back but don't remember very much about it. I feel so sad over the many books I read before I started blogging. I remember them so much better when I have to write a review.

  8. Natasha, I so agree! I can barely remember the plots of any book I read pre-blogging, just whether I liked it or not. Blogging sure helps the old memory!

  9. I keep seeing this book but wasn't sure what it was about. Your review was very helpful to me in that way! Thanks for "bringing me up to speed."

  10. Wonderful review. This was a book that helped me break away from the mystery rut that I had been in for several years. I realized that I was missing out on some great fiction.

  11. Great review! I really loved this book and have read it twice. I haven't read Mermaid Chair, but from the comments, it looks as if I should pass.


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