Monday, October 29, 2007

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

This is a beautifully written novel about a young white girl growing up in the 1960s in South Carolina. Against a background of increasing racial tension she is raised by a black woman, rather like Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, and the girl's unsympathetic father. When the black woman is beaten for wanting to vote, the girl and the woman run away together. The story is interwoven with gems of wisdom concerning the social grouping and conduct of bees, which are a symbol of what is going on in the protagonist's life. I wasn't totally convinced about the bees, but Sue Monk Kidd writes in a gentle, enjoyable style with some lyrical descriptive touches. The book was long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2002.


Jennifer L. Griffith said...

Even though I personally struggled with the theological principles of this story, I LOVED the characters, plot, setting and the bees. I always recommend this book to anyone who asks for something good to read. As a southerner, I fell for for the strong voice, and the tight story that was told.

Cheryl said...

I like this story too, although I find it a bit slow for my taste. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of this genre--uh, woman's reflective relationship-building meandering picaresque fiction? But anyone who does like this genre, and even many who don't, would probably love this book.