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The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees (original 2002; edition 2003)

by Sue Monk Kidd

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19,89547981 (3.91)419
Title:The Secret Life of Bees
Authors:Sue Monk Kidd
Info:Penguin Books (2003), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

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

Recently added byprivate library, Cleoxcat, pontiacgal501, apostate, emmasp6, rena200
  1. 381
    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. 212
    The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Alliebadger, Alie, Neale, readysetgo)
    Neale: Both deal with racial issues and are slow moving but enjoyable
  3. 110
    Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (VictoriaPL)
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  5. 91
    Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (lasperschlager)
  6. 60
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  7. 106
    Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: A Novel by Rebecca Wells (SimoneA)
    SimoneA: Both well written books about the strength of women and forgiveness.
  8. 40
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  9. 41
    A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (AmethystFaerie)
  10. 20
    Small Island by Andrea Levy (tina1969)
  11. 20
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  12. 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
  13. 21
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  15. 43
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  16. 00
    Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall (Iudita)
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    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)
  18. 00
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» See also 419 mentions

English (466)  Norwegian (3)  Catalan (2)  Portuguese (1)  Vietnamese (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (477)
Showing 1-5 of 466 (next | show all)
The story had inspiring elements and the characters were good, but I felt the author spent too much time dwelling on the alternate religion these women had created. I also felt that many of the plot elements were too drawn out. ( )
  AdrienneJS | May 18, 2015 |
I am lumping this book in with the other 1960's civil rights stories that I have read in the past couple of years, books like Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and The Help. An okay story but it failed to captivate me as a coming of age read like Saving CeeCee Honewycutt did or the more prominent civil rights angle of The Help. It has all of those things and then some but I found it hard to connect with a character who kept on lying about her past and the whole minor romance angle that was thrown into the story, almost as if to provide something further for readers to discuss. I never really bought into Lily Owens as a character. She lacks the clarity of wisdom of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, she doesn't have the same tenacity of [the Help's "Skeeter" Phelan, and while she kind of tries to come across a bit like Idgie Threadgoode from Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, she just didn't work for me as a character. I received the copy I read from my Mom and while I can appreciate that this story received some awards and accolades when it was released, I found it to be a bit of a 'ho-hum' story in comparison to the other books mentioned in this review. There was a fair bit of interesting information about beekeeping I did not know about before reading this one but overall, a good read, but on the 'ho-hum' side. ( )
  lkernagh | Apr 20, 2015 |
I just remembered that I didn't actually finish this, so I'd best not actually give it any stars.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Just as good, if not better, the second time around. This novel beautifully brings to life, the Civil Rights movement, broken families, and the fragility of the human condition. Lily, a fourteen year old white girl runs away from home and busts her black caregiver out of jail to go with her. Disgusted with her father, Lily decides that she wants to find out more about her mother, the only clues she has about her mother's life is a portrait of a black Virgin Mary, a photo, and a pair of gloves. On the back of the painting is a note that says Tiberon, NC so that's where Lily decides to go. They quickly discover the origins of the black Madonna, a trio of black sisters who produce honey and honey products. Lily convinces them that she is an orphan with no place to stay and the to are welcomed into their home. Lily falls in love with the three quirky sisters and their bees and starts to think of it as home. But what if her past catches up with her? Does she really want to know the truth about her mother?

A great read. For fans of The Help and Whistling Past the Graveyard. ( )
  ecataldi | Apr 3, 2015 |
Sue Monk Kidd has written a touching, coming of age story set in a newly segregated South Carolina in the sixties. Orphaned at age four, Lily Owens lives with a harsh and neglectful father whose form of punishment, beside the usual backhander, is to force her to kneel on hard grits for hours at a time. A pair of white gloves and a picture of a Black Madonna are the only connections Lily has left of her dead mother. Her nanny and surrogate black mother, Rosaleen, gets into trouble with the law when she tries to exercise her right to register her vote. Fourteen-year-old Lily sneaks Rosaleen away from the clutches of the police and they escape detection by living with three black sisters who operate a bee keeping outfit.
This is a moving story of a young girl searching for clues to validate her dead mother's love. The author's style is brilliant and her characters vivid and endearing. After rereading this book twice, I can, with great confidence, recommend it to both teens and adults, and to teachers who are looking for a great class read that will present both the historical and emotional spirit of that era.
( )
  BooksUncovered | Feb 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 466 (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.

» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sue Monk Kiddprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Frezza Pavese, PaolaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paredes, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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.
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."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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...
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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)

Now in paperback comes the intoxicating debut novel of "one motherless daughter's discover of ... the strange and wondrous places we find love" ("The Washington Post"). Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing work is set in South Carolina in 1964.

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