- This book has been on my TBR since 2009. I watched the movie, so I had to read the book!
I also recommend:
- Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
Summary from GoodReads:
Sue Monk Kidd’s ravishing debut novel has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the town’s fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina–a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love–a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
I get so conflicted with books like this. Part of me feels like if I gush over it, I’ll be one of those white women who thinks that she can fully understand the issues African-American women faced back in the 60′s.. and part of me feels like if I criticize it (and thereby criticize myself for actually reading, and enjoying the story), that I’ll be fake and hypocritical.
So what do you do in that situation?
Lily’s story was, to me, like a really bad car accident in that it was hard to look away. It wasn’t uplifting to me, or enlightening. I thought it dealt well with the issues of guilt a girl could feel by being the cause of her mother’s death, I enjoyed reading about the sisters, the wailing wall, and the beekeeping.
However, the little quotes at the beginning of the chapter, and the feeling of self-centered-ness I got from Lily (and yes, I know she’s a child, but the book really seemed like it was unfairly tilted in her direction and the other women present were cast in the role of glorified support characters) kind of gave me a bad taste. It felt as if the book was intended to be a sentimental story, targeting white women, in an effort to make us feel better about ourselves and how far we’ve come.
Again – that could have been me just being overly sensitive.
Anyways – I think I enjoyed reading the book about as much as I enjoyed watching the movie. Once was enough – I think I’ll stick with a little more substance though for the next read.
Check out these reviews!