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.
This was really a heart warming book. It was very sweet. This is definitely a mother-daughter book because it is really about women. This book is something that I would recommend to any girl over the age of 12. There is nothing inappropriate as such, it is just weighty issues talked about. This book I might read again because it was so good.
I had wanted to read this book this summer because it was part of my summer reading list, but my mom did not know whether it was suitable or not. She checked out about 10 websites. They all really said the same thing. They all said that it was ok for teenagers. And my personal opinion is that it is great for any girl of the ages 12 and up. I must warn you that there are some racial comments because Lily stays with African-Americans and T. Ray is racist. In the beginning of the book, there is a little violence, someone gets hit on the hit and there is some racial language again. That is the only thing to watch out for. Other wise this was a great book and I would recommend it to all girls. Boys might not like it so much because this book is about women and there are some mentions to female body parts. Otherwise it is great.
I also just wanted to mention that Sue Monk Kidd makes her characters come alive in the book. She describes them very well. I felt like Lily was alive and T. Ray was actually in the room (which was kind of scary because he was so mean). Her writing is very good and she makes the words on the page come alive. I actually felt like I was part of what was happening or was a spectator to what was happening.
I hope that you enjoy the book.