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The Secret Life Of Bees

The Secret Life Of Bees

Blurb

The Secret Life Of Bees is a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Lily. Lily grew up in South Carolina on a peach farm with her dad. Lily is tormented by memories of holding the gun that accidentally killed her mother, as if that isn’t bad enough her dad has told her that she was the one that discharged it.

Growing up without a female role model has made Lily a social outcast at school and now her only friend is her nanny Rosaleen. One day, Lily and Rosaleen find themselves caught up in an incident typical of the heightened racial tensions of the time and end up fugitives on the run.

Desperate to escape the tensions of her hometown and the life on the farm Lily sets off in search of a place she knows her mother once visited.

She and Rosaleen end up seeking refuge with three beekeeping sisters; August, May and June. Will Lily be able to find the answers she desperately seeks about her mother?


Our Review

A few months ago, I watched The Secret Life Of Bees and loved it but I didn’t realise until I went to buy the DVD that It was also a book. I generally prefer to read the book first so that I can develop my own images of the characters but as it was too late to do that I bought it anyway.

The Secret Life Of Bees is a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Lily. Lily grew up in South Carolina on a peach farm with her dad. Lily is tormented by memories of holding the gun that accidentally killed her mother, as if that isn’t bad enough her dad has told her that she was the one that discharged it.

Lily and T-Ray don’t have a typical father-daughter relationship. Things were strained between them to the extent that there is virtually no relationship between them. Lily calls him T-Ray because ‘daddy’ never fit him.

Growing up without a female role model has made Lily a social outcast at school and now her only friend is her nanny Rosaleen. Life is tough for Lily; she lives constantly with the ghost of her mother and the worry that she is unlovable.

“People who think dying is the worst thing don’t know a thing about life.”

Lily only has two sources of comfort; her books and a few possessions which once belonged to her mother but has to keep hidden from T-Ray.

There was one particular passage of the book that made me smile and feel a bit sad at the time.

“Whenever I opened one, T-Ray said, ‘Who do you think you are, Julius Shakespeare?’ The man sincerely thought that was Shakespeare’s first name, and if you think I should have corrected him, you are ignorant about the art of survival.”

Lily is clearly not ignorant on the art of survival because she has lived alone with T-Ray for so long. He has made her kneel on grits as a punishment since she was six years old and she is constantly walking on eggshells around him in case she says or does the wrong thing.

One day, Lily and Rosaleen find themselves caught up in an incident typical of the heightened racial tensions of the time and end up fugitives on the run.

Desperate to escape the tensions of her hometown and the life on the farm Lily sets off in search of a place she knows her mother once visited.

She and Rosaleen end up seeking refuge with three beekeeping sisters; August, May and June. Will Lily be able to find the answers she desperately seeks about her mother?

The Secret Life Of Bees was such a great book. One of my favourite things about it was the exploration of the racial prejudices of the time and the resistance people had to The Civil Rights Act. The attitudes of a lot of the white people in the book towards black people were disgusting and made for a very uncomfortable read. Under normal circumstances I would have comforted myself with the fact that attitudes have largely changed but after watching coverage of the events in Charlottesville I can’t say that is necessarily the case.

This book is full of amazing characters, full of life. My favourite character was May. I liked the way she wore her heart on her sleeve and took on other people’s hurts as well as her own. I loved the idea of her having her own wailing wall to write her daily troubles.

My favourite relationship in the book was that between August and Lily. I liked how deep their bond was and the way the author used their relationship to give us information about Lily’s mother.

I also liked all the interesting facts about bees that were peppered throughout the story.

Anyone who hasn’t read this book needs to remedy that now.  

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4.7/5

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