Review: The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: Book Cover

Product Details

  • Pub. Date: January 2003
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Format: Paperback , 336pp


“The bees came the summer of 1964, the summer I turned fourteen and my life went spinning off into a whole new orbit, and I mean whole new orbit. Looking back on it now, I want to say the bees were sent to me. I want to say they showed up like the angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary, setting events in motion I could never have guessed.” So begins the story of Lily Melissa Owens, a plucky girl, rich in humor despite heart wrenching circumstances. Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, her entire life has been shaped around one devastating, though blurred, memory- the afternoon her mother was killed. Four at the time, she remembers innocently picking up the gun. And, she has her father’s eyewitness account of the gun firing. People remind her it was an accident, yet she’s inhabited by a torturous guilt. Lily’s only real companion is Rosaleen, a tender, but fierce-hearted black woman who cooks, cleans and acts as her “stand-in mother.”
South Carolina in 1964 is a place and time of seething racial divides. When violence explodes one summer afternoon, and Rosaleen is arrested and beaten, Lily is desperate, not only to save Rosaleen, but to flee a life she can no longer endure. Calling upon her colorful wits and uncommon daring, she breaks Rosaleen out of jail and the two of them take off, runaway-fugitives conjoined in an escape that quickly turns into Lily’s quest for the truth about her mother’s life.
Following a trail left ten years earlier, Lily and Rosaleen end up in the home of three bee-keeping sisters. No ordinary women, the sisters revere a Black Madonna and tend a unique brand of female spirituality that reaches back to the time of slavery. As Lily’s life becomes deeply entwined with theirs, she is irrevocably altered. In a mesmerizing world of bees and honey, amid the strength and power of wise women, Lily journeys through painful secrets and shattering betrayals, finding her way to the single thing her heart longs for most.

Initial Response:

I loved this book.  It made me think of the civil rights times in a completely new way.  Not only that but this coming of age book touched on a lot of sensitive subjects in a tactful way.  This is an outstanding book.  It truly reminds me of many of the Oprah picks.  I am surprised we have not seen this book there.

My Review:

Outstanding coming of age book.  Lily is a young girl who has seen her share of difficult times.  She knows her mother died when is was young but she is unclear of the circumstances.  She lives with her father T. Ray, who is a hard man, and does not seem to understand what Lily needs.  There is also the house attendant,  Rosaleen. Once the civil rights laws have been passed Lily is going with Rosaleen into town to register her to vote but they run into trouble. Lily helps Rosaleen to escape jail (hospital at the time) and follow the only clue Lily has about her mother and what may have happened.  This journey takes them to the pink home of August, May and June.  Lily learns a lot about bee keeping and about life.  It takes Lily a long time to confront August about her mother and when she does she learns things she never wanted to believe were true. We also see the frustrations of falling in love with someone of a different color and the challenges it presents.  There is so much emotion in this book everything from love, to mourning, and everything in between.  This book should not be missed.  It is an outstanding read and one that should give everyone a better understanding of what the world was in 1964.

It’s Monday: What are you reading?

It’s Monday What are you reading?
Finished Last Week:
Indulgence in Death (In Death Series #31) by J. D. Robb: Book Cover
Review has been posted
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: Book Cover
Review will be written today
This week:
I am home today due to car problems.  Just have to love old cars in the winter in Michigan but since I am hope I am hoping to get a couple of review posted and get some reading done.  So my goal is to read the following this week:
Thieves Like Us by Starr Ambrose: Book Cover


Her ex stole the jewels, but this bad boy just stole her heart. . . .
After ditching the ruthless Banner Westfield, aka “the world’s worst husband,” sexy and fiercely guarded Janet Aims thinks the least she deserves for surviving attempted murder is a chance to cash in on her losses. Step one is hocking the wedding ring and ridiculously tacky necklace given to her by her conniving ex.
But just when Janet thinks she’s buried the past, the police claim that the necklace is part of the stolen Pellinni Jewel collection. Which means that even prison can’t stop Banner from dumping her smack in the middle of his evil schemes again.
With Colombian gangsters and jewel thieves hot on her trail, Janet has no choice but to turn to smoldering ex-con Rocky Hernandez, the one man who can make her fragile heart pound. Partnering up with a certified hottie who knows the ins and outs of Detroit’s seedy underbelly as well as he does a woman’s body might have its perks if Janet’s life—and her heart—weren’t on the line. . . .

Product Details

Fame and Fortune have destroyed many a rock star, but Trevor Wolff has a bigger problem when his best friend Mitchell Voss commits an act of monogamy with sexy artist Kerri Broadhurst.

ShapeShifter band dynamics will never be the same with this new woman on the scene, and the distractions of two girlfriends and a world tour aren’t enough to keep Trevor from feeling like his carefully constructed world is crumbling around him. The pesky little illness he’s been hiding from his band mates isn’t help, either.

Trevor is determined to drive Kerri away so life can run properly. He’ll do whatever it takes, or die trying, and not just because if he doesn’t get well soon, time might be up for old Trevor. The last person he expects help or sympathy from is Kerri herself, but he may have to make common cause with his enemy if he’s to survive the fallout from the secrets he’s been hiding.

What are you reading?


I discovered an amazing organization today.  This totally feel into my lap but I feel that it is something that more people need to know about.  Everyone knows that education in many areas of our country is lacking and teachers are putting their own money in to fill in the gaps that our state and federal governments keep making cuts.  Education is what our children need in order to grow up to be responsible adults in our society.  Both of my parents were teachers, my sister is a teacher and I have a few close friends that are teachers.  Year after year I have seen them put thousands of dollars into their classroom and students in order to ensure they were getting the best education possible.  That being said, I think that this is a wonderful organization.  So let’s hear a little about
Here’s how it works: public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class.
Then, you can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires you. Once a project reaches its funding goal, we deliver the materials to the school.
You’ll get photos of your project taking place, a thank-you letter from the teacher, and a cost report showing how each dollar was spent. If you give over $100, you’ll also receive hand-written thank-you letters from the students.
At, you can give as little as $1 and get the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions. We call it citizen philanthropy.

How we ensure integrity

Our team is vigilant about providing end-to-end integrity for each classroom project funded through our site. To that end, we:

  • Vet every classroom project request submitted by teachers.
  • Process donor transactions using the most secure and trusted technology available.
  • Purchase the classroom materials, shipping items directly to the school and alerting the principal when the materials are on their way.
  • Provide photos of the project taking place, teacher and student letters, and a cost report showing how every dollar was spent.

Now a little bit about how I found about about DonorsChoose.  I was at Borders today purchasing a book for myself and for my oldest son and when I checked out I was provided a donation card to donate $15 to the school program of my choice due to my purchase.  The gift card is made possible by a donation of the funders of and is limited to one per person.

Normally, I don’t try to suggest where someone should donate their hard earned dollars but if you are still considering a charity for 2010 donation I think that you should take a look at DonorsChoose.  Please consider it.  There are many more details on their website.

Here is the project that I chose to support:

Can You Hear Me?

Classroom project requested by Mrs. B.
My Students: The. More. Students. Read. Aloud. The. More. Fluent. They. Will. Be. Looks pretty silly, doesn’t it? Imagine if this is how you internalized the written word. Every day, students who struggle with fluency get further behind their peers, and get more and more frustrated with gathering meaning from text.
My students come from pretty difficult homes. 76% of my students are considered “at risk”…free lunch, incarcerated parents, homeless, migrant, abused, abandoned, you name it. In spite of all their challenges though, they are truly amazing kids. They are great at pushing aside whatever horrible thing is going on in their lives to focus on the task at hand…learning. They realize that learning, school, and most of all, reading, is important–and the ticket to a better life. They are great kids who deserve the world…and a better hand than they have been dealt.

That is where our staff come in. I have never worked with a staff who is so caring, so creative, and so willing to go the extra mile to help these kids succeed. They truly work miracles with these kids every day. I know the success of our school family is a direct correlation of how hard our tireless staff and volunteers work.
My Project: The more children read, and the more they read the SAME piece, the more fluent they will become. As a teacher, it is difficult to come up with creative ways to get students to read the same piece twice, let alone get them to read it 8 or 9 times. By recording themselves on a computer using these headphones and free online software, students will be able to create a podcast of themselves reading. In order to get the final product perfect, they will read it over and over again, thereby becoming more fluent. They will be motivated to achieve reading perfection!
Once they are more fluent readers, so many more doors will open for them. Their love of learning will skyrocket, and they will be able to take that first step in breaking the cycle of poverty.
Please help us fund this project. My students deserve this. They really are great kids who have just been given a poor roll of the dice. This project can really help them read more fluently; this project can really change lives!

Let’s go out there and change the lives of Children!