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Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
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Secret Life of Bees (original 2002; edition 2006)

by Sue Monk Kidd

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19,031None85 (3.91)371
Member:camatlak
Title:Secret Life of Bees
Authors:Sue Monk Kidd
Info:HEADLINE (HODD) (2006), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (2002)

1960s (85) African American (77) American (75) American South (110) beekeeping (126) bees (228) book club (124) civil rights (233) coming of age (325) contemporary fiction (93) family (218) fiction (1,941) friendship (84) historical fiction (159) honey (75) literature (72) love (60) novel (225) own (104) race (86) race relations (92) racism (272) read (226) South (118) South Carolina (223) southern (129) southern fiction (66) to-read (170) unread (71) women (219)
  1. 351
    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Caramellunacy, RosyLibrarian)
    Caramellunacy: Both stories are about a young girl in the South coming to terms with racism. Secret Life of Bees features an teenaged protagonist whereas To Kill a Mockingbird's Scout is quite a bit younger, but I thought there were themes that resonated between the two.… (more)
  2. 202
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Alliebadger, Alie, Neale)
    Neale: Both deal with racial issues and are slow moving but enjoyable
  3. 90
    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (VictoriaPL)
  4. 80
    White Oleander by Janet Fitch (leahsimone)
  5. 91
    Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (lasperschlager)
  6. 60
    Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns (ddelmoni)
  7. 40
    Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff (rbtanger)
  8. 41
    A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (AmethystFaerie)
  9. 96
    Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells (SimoneA)
    SimoneA: Both well written books about the strength of women and forgiveness.
  10. 20
    How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (HazardMain)
    HazardMain: both books, though set in totally different surroundings, tell the story of a teenage girl who finds a place to call "home" for the first time in her life
  11. 20
    Small Island by Andrea Levy (tina1969)
  12. 21
    Bliss by Peter Carey (meela)
  13. 10
    Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens (teelgee)
  14. 43
    Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons (rbtanger)
  15. 00
    Soul Kiss by Shay Youngblood (greytone)
    greytone: The larger-than-life black women of both novels provided the young girls an example and a moral anchor to which they could fasten their drifting life rafts. Both novels are fine examples of how important these silent members of the community are, and how critical these things are to forming successful and productive lives.… (more)
  16. 00
    In the Midnight Rain by Ruth Wind (EmJay)
    EmJay: Both books are set in the South, and both involve motherless daughters coming to terms with their past and finding a community.
  17. 11
    Paradise by Toni Morrison (Booksloth)
  18. 00
    Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall (Iudita)
  19. 12
    Three Junes by Julia Glass (leahsimone)
  20. 67
    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (leahsimone)

(see all 21 recommendations)

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» See also 371 mentions

English (443)  Norwegian (3)  Catalan (2)  Portuguese (1)  Vietnamese (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (454)
Showing 1-5 of 443 (next | show all)
Terrible. Feels fake all the way through. ( )
  tabascofromgudreads | Apr 19, 2014 |
Never has a book as straightforward as The Secret Life of Bees been so enjoyable. The characters are pretty much "what you see is what you get." Ass hole cops are indeed shitheads, wise-seeming middle-aged women do know what they're talking about, abusive fathers are dicks, and well-meaning teenage love interests are that sweet. There are no shocking twists or misleading foreshadowing. While it's not 100% clear how the book is going to end, it's not unforeseeable, either. The fact all this doesn't make the story dull or average in quality speaks to the depth of the writing and the realness of the characters. Also, the time period and the geography provide a valuable setting: civil rights era South Carolina. I think even people who usually pass on fiction might be glad they gave this one a try: that is how realistic this fiction is. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
Never has a book as straightforward as The Secret Life of Bees been so enjoyable. The characters are pretty much "what you see is what you get." Ass hole cops are indeed shitheads, wise-seeming middle-aged women do know what they're talking about, abusive fathers are dicks, and well-meaning teenage love interests are that sweet. There are no shocking twists or misleading foreshadowing. While it's not 100% clear how the book is going to end, it's not unforeseeable, either. The fact all this doesn't make the story dull or average in quality speaks to the depth of the writing and the realness of the characters. Also, the time period and the geography provide a valuable setting: civil rights era South Carolina. I think even people who usually pass on fiction might be glad they gave this one a try: that is how realistic this fiction is. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
Never has a book as straightforward as The Secret Life of Bees been so enjoyable. The characters are pretty much "what you see is what you get." Ass hole cops are indeed shitheads, wise-seeming middle-aged women do know what they're talking about, abusive fathers are dicks, and well-meaning teenage love interests are that sweet. There are no shocking twists or misleading foreshadowing. While it's not 100% clear how the book is going to end, it's not unforeseeable, either. The fact all this doesn't make the story dull or average in quality speaks to the depth of the writing and the realness of the characters. Also, the time period and the geography provide a valuable setting: civil rights era South Carolina. I think even people who usually pass on fiction might be glad they gave this one a try: that is how realistic this fiction is. ( )
  dysmonia | Apr 15, 2014 |
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. The narrative voice is very strong. It was an extremely quick read. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 4, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 443 (next | show all)
Lily is a wonderfully petulant and self-absorbed adolescent, and Kidd deftly portrays her sense of injustice as it expands to accommodate broader social evils. At the same time, the political aspects of Lily's growth never threaten to overwhelm the personal.
 
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Epigraph
The queen, for her part, is the unifying force of the community; if she is removed from the hive, the workers very quickly sense her absence. After a few hours, or even less, they show unmistakable signs of queenlessness. - Man and Insects.
Dedication
For my son, Bob, and Ann and Sandy with all my love.
First words
At night I would lie in bed and watch the show, how bees squeezed through 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.
Quotations
The secret of a good lie is don't overly explain, and throw in one good detail.
"She liked to tell everybody that women made the best beekeepers, 'cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. 'It comes from years of loving children and husbands,' she'd say."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Great story about a young girl's journey to discover her mother and herself. Southern tone is always fun.
1960s: Lily has grown up believing that at the age of four she accidentally killed her mother. She not only has her own memory of holding the gun, but her father's account of the event. Now, at fourteen, Lily yearns for her mother, and for forgiveness. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her father, she has just one friend, Rosaleen, a black servant of uncertain age. When racial tension explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily is compelled to act. Fugitives from justice and from Lily's harsh and unyielding father, they find sanctuary in the home of three beekeeping sisters...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142001740, Paperback)

In Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, 14-year-old Lily Owen, neglected by her father and isolated on their South Carolina peach farm, spends hours imagining a blissful infancy when she was loved and nurtured by her mother, Deborah, whom she barely remembers. These consoling fantasies are her heart's answer to the family story that as a child, in unclear circumstances, Lily accidentally shot and killed her mother. All Lily has left of Deborah is a strange image of a Black Madonna, with the words "Tiburon, South Carolina" scrawled on the back. The search for a mother, and the need to mother oneself, are crucial elements in this well-written coming-of-age story set in the early 1960s against a background of racial violence and unrest. When Lily's beloved nanny, Rosaleen, manages to insult a group of angry white men on her way to register to vote and has to skip town, Lily takes the opportunity to go with her, fleeing to the only place she can think of--Tiburon, South Carolina--determined to find out more about her dead mother. Although the plot threads are too neatly trimmed, The Secret Life of Bees is a carefully crafted novel with an inspired depiction of character. The legend of the Black Madonna and the brave, kind, peculiar women who perpetuate Lily's story dominate the second half of the book, placing Kidd's debut novel squarely in the honored tradition of the Southern Gothic. --Regina Marler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:46 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Fourteen-year-old Lily and her companion, Rosaleen, an African-American woman who has cared for Lily since her mother's death ten years earlier, flee their home after Rosaleen is victimized by racist police officers, and find a safe haven in Tiburon, South Carolina at the home of three beekeeping sisters, May, June, and August.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 16 descriptions

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