Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Bees are totally cool! I’ve known for a long time how dependent our food supply is on bees, but this book gave me some new information to help me be fascinated by the little creatures. (Little side note: Last year we had a swarm of bees in our front yard on a bush. I called around and found a nice man who keeps bees as a hobby and he came and got them. He was happy to have them because there is a shortage of honey bees in the world. He said there were about ten or twenty thousand in our swarm. But I digress.) There is a strong analogy between bees and women in the book, but it is mostly about women.

The main character, Lilly, is being raised by her misguided father and a black “nanny” after her mother died years earlier. Certain events take place that send Lilly to South Carolina in search of information about her mother. She meets a family of three sisters who keep bees, sell the honey and are happy and successful. Lilly finds herself (this is a bildungsroman! [a coming of age novel]) with the help of the sisters.

The thing I like the most is that Lilly discovers the strength she has as a woman. The story takes place in 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed so that is a big part of the story. It makes me happy that some of those people who were so mistreated in that time of our history were able to see that our country has moved to the point of electing a black man as president. I feel joy for them and gratitude for the time I live in. I’m grateful for changes that happen in history, and I’m glad I’m a woman.

This is a great book, quite sad at times, but overall has a strong message of hope. Lots of swearing, but I’d give it an A-. I’ll rent the movie when it comes on DVD (2/3/09) but I’m planning to be disappointed. I’m a fan of Queen Latifah’s acting (although she’s becoming typecast), but Dakota Fanning is a little creepy to me.

1 comment:

Lula O said...

I haven't read this one yet, but have wanted to for awhile. Having read two books set in the pre- Civil Rights South in the last few months - Mockingbird and Mudbound - I find that this time period is very interesting and thought-provoking.
And of course bees are cool! They are bugs aren't they??