Friday, October 30, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees

by Sue Monk Kidd
Finished October 27, 2009

In the week before I picked this book up, two different people on two different occasions told me to read this. One person had described the way that one of the characters would lure bugs out of her house by creating little trails of marshmallows and graham crackers leading outside. The other person told me about the character that would write down the names of people or causes she wanted to pray for and tuck them into a stone wall in her backyard just as people do with the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

I loved this book. Other than the picture of the Mother and Child icon on the front cover, I had no idea it had anything to do with the Virgin Mary. She plays a great role in this book.

Lily runs away from home along with her black nanny/housekeeper Rosaleen. They are running
away from injustice and indifference. Lily's father is a cruel man who shows her no love. Rosaleen is their housekeeper. The Civil Rights Act has just been signed into law by President Johnson and Rosaleen goes to town in order to register to vote. There she encounters a group of racist good old boys. After a confrontation, she is arrested and beaten.

At the same time, Lily's father tells her that her mother (who died when Lily was four) had left
home without her and had only come back to get her clothes on the day she died. Lily is crushed. She decides that there is nothing left for her at home so she busts Rosaleen out of the hospital and police custody. They run away to Tiburon, South Carolina. It's a town in their own home state, but unknown to both women. Lily has chosen Tiburon because she found a picture of a Black Madonna with "Tiburon, South Carolina" written on the back.

In Tiburon they find a big pink house owned by three black women, the sisters August, May and June. August is a bee keeper and uses the image of the Black Madonna on her honey jars.

I loved this book. It touched me on so many levels, besides being a really good story. I haven't seen the movie, but I will. I hope it's as good as the book. I also hope they kept the Marian themes.

1 comment:

Alane said...

I have loved every book that I have read of Sue Monk Kidd. I particularly like The Mermaid Chair (another fiction) and Traveling with Pomegranates (a non fiction that takes place while she is writing The Secret Life of Bees). I just got another of hers - I will tell you how it is.