The Secret Life of Bees (Hardcover) ~ Sue Monk Kidd (Author) Cover Art

The Secret Life of Bees (movie tie-in): Tie In Edition (Hardcover)

By: Sue Monk Kidd (Author)


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Review

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. Although the plot threads are too neatly trimmed, The Secret Life of Bees is a carefully crafted novel with an inspired depiction of character. The legend of the Black Madonna and the brave, kind, peculiar women who perpetuate Lily's story dominate the second half of the book, placing Kidd's debut novel squarely in the honored tradition of the Southern Gothic. --Regina Marler

Short Desription

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.


Editorial Reviews

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MORE ABOUT THIS PRODUCT

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.

PRAISE FOR THIS TITLE

"A moving first novel...Lily is an authentic and winning character and her story is compellingly told. The bees presage her journey toward self-acceptance, faith and freedom that is at the heart of this novel." —USA Today

"Inspiring. Sue Monk Kidd is a direct literary descendant of Carson McCullers." —The Baltimore Sun

"Fully imagined...the core of this story is Lily's search for a mother, and she finds one in a place she never expected." —The New York Times Book Review

"This is the story of a young girl's journey toward healing, and of the intrinsic sacredness of living in the world. Simply wonderful." —Anne Rivers Siddons

""The stunning metaphors and realistic characters are so poignant they will bring tears to your eyes." —Library Journal

"Kidd has written a triumphant coming-of-age novel that speaks to the universal need for love" —New Orleans Times-Picayune

"The chapters...dance on the edges of 'Magical Realism,' that blend of the fabulous and the ordinary that can invest a tale with a sense of wonderment, as is the case here." —Richmond Times-Dispatch

"I am amazed that this moving, original, and accomplished book is a first novel. It is wonderfully written, powerful, poignant, and humorous, and deliciously eccentric. Do read it." —Joanna Trollope

"A wonderful novel about mothers and daughters and the transcendent power of love." —Connie May Fowler

"A truly original Southern voice." —Anita Shreve

"It's as if Kidd loaded up a take-home plate with treats, and you said 'Oh, I couldn't,' and then scarfed it down in the car on the way home." —Entertainment Weekly

"The tale of one motherless daughter's discovery of what family really means—and of the strange and wondrous places we love." —The Washington Post



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