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The Secret Life of Bees

Posted - Aug. 14, 2003 at 4:24 a.m.



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THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES By Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees is one of those books I noticed on the bestseller list for weeks, but never bought. Then it came out in paperback and I noticed it on the bestseller list again and thought – OK. I’m so sorry I waited. It was incredible.

A truly great book lets you lose yourself not only because the characters and their stories are so rich, but because it shows you to yourself in unexpected and delicious ways. Great books employ great language, yes, and more than that. It’s in the metaphor. It’s in the spirit of the book – and The Secret Life of Bees is filled with spirit.

This is the story of Lily, a teenage girl whose mother died when she was 4 and whose father punishes her by making her kneel for hours on piles of grits. Lily dreams of a mother who loved her, dreams of the life she would have had if her mother had lived. Through an amazing adventure of running away, breaking her black housekeeper out of jail, finding the town she had literally dreamed of, and learning who her mother was, The Secret Life of Bees takes us on a journey of self-discovery. As Lily finds the mother inside herself, we do too. How few books can help you feel real love?

The author writes, “Most people don’t have any idea about all the complicated life going on inside a hive. Bees have a secret life we don’t know anything about.” Don’t we all. I loved this book – one of my favorites this year. On the paperback bestseller list, Sue Monk Kidd’s first fiction work is close to perfect. The Secret Life of Bees.

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