I know I don’t usually do book reviews, but I’m a huge reader, and I love to share my discoveries. This book is amazing.
The Secret Life of Bees Takes place in South Carolina in 1964. The main character, Lily Owens, is a fourteen year old girl being raised by her mean-spirited father and her black nanny. Her mother was killed in a tragic accident when Lily was four, and her father takes every opportunity to break down Lily’s spirit. Yet she continues to dream and hopes to be a great writer one day. I’ll be honest, this book started out so sad. However, after several early buildups and small climaxes, the plot sails smoothly to happier times.
Lily eventually leaves her father and her home under harsh circumstances, dragging along her nanny for the ride. Although somewhat rough around the edges, Rosaleen, her nanny, loves Lily very much and Lily returns that love. Lily and Rosaleen meet three slightly eccentric sisters, August, June, and May in Lily’s journey to find out more about the mother she never really knew. Throughout the rest of the book each of the three sisters teach Lily a little something about life and, as the title suggests, bee keeping of all things. It turns out these sisters have even more to teach Lily than what is just at face value.
This novel is a strong and courageous coming of age novel that takes place in a very difficult time. Even though the civil rights act was passed in the time this novel takes place, it’s obvious that racism is a very big problem, especially in South Carolina. To make things harder, throughout the novel Lily finds herself falling in love with a black man, and being a white girl in the 60’s this was very dangerous, especially for the man.
There are some twists and turns throughout, just like any good novel, but in the end we’re met with a lovely ending and some major surprises. I really would recommend this book to anyone who likes to feel strong emotion when reading. The author takes you for a roller coaster ride but ups and downs are certainly worth it to get to the destination.
I loved the book and practically inhaled it in three days. Although it really is more of a “girl book” I think just about anyone can appreciate the trials and triumphs the characters go through. It’s also a book for just about any age, although due to some talk of puberty related issues maybe best for those over thirteen. It was actually given to me by Brian, who had to read it for a college literature class. The movie just came out, so I think I’ll be going to see it….or wait for it on VOD since movies are so damn expensive lately. haha. We shall see!

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