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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't keep this a secret
A truly charming book, wonderfully written, moving and heart-warming with a spiritual core. The main character is Lily, a motherless teenager who has been brought up by her bitter, angry father. Lily's journey to find something or someone to answer the questions and fill the gap that her mother's death has left within her takes her to a mesmerizing, soulful place in the...
Published on 31 Jan 2009 by b.lops

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange but interesting
This book was the story of a girl who runs away from home in the deep south of America. She runs to her mother's black nanny and lives with 3 black women which was highly unusual for the time. They run a bee farm and so the book is interspersed with interesting information about bees. It was an easy read.
Published 10 months ago by itsme


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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't keep this a secret, 31 Jan 2009
A truly charming book, wonderfully written, moving and heart-warming with a spiritual core. The main character is Lily, a motherless teenager who has been brought up by her bitter, angry father. Lily's journey to find something or someone to answer the questions and fill the gap that her mother's death has left within her takes her to a mesmerizing, soulful place in the American south. The year is 1964 and the civil rights act has just been signed which adds more tension to the story and provides an inspired backdrop to Lily's journey. The desciptions are beautiful, I could smell the honey, hear the bees and feel the heat. The characters are full and August Boatwright in particular is one I wish I knew in real life. Lily's thoughts and her anguish are written so well I was reading through tears. This is a moving story but not maudlin or depressing one, it is uplifting, full of heart and inspiration. Just a little footnote, if you enjoyed reading this I recommend you read A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly too.
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157 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you never read another book, read this one!, 8 April 2003
By 
Janette (South Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
Forget the title - this is a heart-wrenching, beautiful book and I urge you to read it, whatever your usual reading matter. The narrator of this novel, Lily, grows up unloved and believing that she accidentally killed her mother at the age of four. She starts her story "the summer I turned fourteen", and Sue Monk Kidd perfectly captures the awkward restlessness of the teenager, longing for love, yearning to discover the truth and fearful of what will emerge. The casual references to racial attitudes in South Carolina in 1964 are shocking, and the unique beekeeping sisters she finishes up with stay with you and haunt you long after you finish the book. Poignant and humorous by turns, the tale brought tears to my eyes on several occasions, something which has never happened before in my wide reading history. An added bonus are the wonderful facts you will learn about bees... I really can't recommend this book strongly enough!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Get the buzz!!, 3 Jun 2004
Great writing, moving story, and deep relevance for all of us because of Monk Kidd's persuasive linking between identity and trauma, not just on a personal level, but on a broader societal level. Nothing new about this, of course, but The Secret Life of Bees succeeds because of its charm and intimacy. I have read another excellent book recently about a person whose life was shaped by the life and dead of his mother, and by the trauma that underpins his chosen life. Called IN THE GHOST COUNTRY by Peter Hillary and John Elder, the book has been described in overseas news reviews as ``deserving a much wider audience because of its searing psychological insights'' and ''a superb dialogue on human frailty.'' Check it out.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holiday reading at its best, 6 Mar 2010
By 
Clare Topping (Northamptonshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book tells the story of a white girl trying to grow up in the racially divided deep south in the 1960s, with a father who doesn't love her and no mother following her death when the main character was just four. The author has written the story well, weaving in a number of characters, most of whom you care about enough to hope things turn out well for them in the end.

There are a few twists in the book, but it is not a complicated read. It is the sort of book you can curl up with and relax, but it is not one to make you think or that will change the world. However, I did find it quite addictive and a page turner, which is why I rated it at four stars, not three. This was not in a gripping, edge of the seat, what will happen next kind of way, more in the sense of how will it all work out in the end?

Worth borrowing from the library, or buying to take on holiday if you want a light, entertaining read.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE POWER OF THE SISTERHOOD OF WOMEN..., 5 July 2004
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This New York Times best selling novel is a beautifully written, coming of age story, set in rural South Carolina in 1964 against the back drop of the civil rights movement. It is the touching story of a young white girl, fourteen year old Lily Owens, whose mother died in a tragic accident when Lily was about four. Lily lives with her father, a harsh man with whom no love is lost, on a peach farm outside Sylvan, South Carolina. Her mother's death stands between them.
Neglected by her father, Lily is brought up by Rosaleen, a big-hearted black woman, who loves Lily and whom Lily loves. Yet, hers is a lonely existence, compounded by her unquenched thirst for information about her mother, Deborah. All she has left of her mother are some cloudy memories and a box containing a few mementos, among them a picture of a Black Madonna, inscribed with the words, "Tiburon, S.C."
When Rosaleen goes into town to register to vote, she feels empowered by the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and has a run-in with the town's three biggest racists, resulting in Rosaleen being taken into custody. Lily arranges for her to break free. Together, they seek sanctuary in Tiburon, South Carolina, where Lily discovers the mystery of the Black Madonna. Taken in by a trio of middle-aged black women who are sisters, as well as beekeepers, Lily is introduced to the secret life of bees and begins to learn some important life lessons. She also learns something about her mother and finds love where she least expected.
This is simply a beautifully realized novel, written in a true Southern voice by a wonderful writer with a story to tell. It is little wonder that this compelling book has received so many accolades. It is a stunning fiction debut by the author.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving story, 28 Jan 2005
By 
Monica (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
I have made it a point of reading inspirational books which can help me have a positive outlook to life. Though it reads like a non-fictional memoir, "The Secret Life of Bees" even though it is fictitious, has been tremendously helpful to me as an inspirational book. It is brilliantly written with amazing details and beautiful settings. It showed the unique creativity of the author. This hard to put down book, is sure to capture your heart with its imagery.

Sue Monk Kidd does a brilliant job of laying out a storyline that is not only believable, but is interesting as well. I could not put this book down. Lily Owens will capture your heart. Despite the abuse from the hands of her father T. Ray, she turned out to be a survivor. Sharing her destiny with the beekeeping sisters, and their Black Madonna honey, she finally attains some emotional security in her life. May, one of the sisters is someone who inspires. This is a novel for young adults and adults, because at 14, Lily fights with the hazy memory of her dead mother whom she misses and longs for in rural South Carolina of 1964, where racial violence is inescapable. She finds solace in her surrogate mother - the family's black servant, Rosaleen, who later becomes a victim of racial hatred. It moved on to the escape of Lily and Rosaleen, the search for the identity of Lily's mother's identity and the quest for a sense of belonging in her life This journey led Lily and Rosaleen into the lives of three strange but alluring beekeepers who set Lily who helped Lily to grow up and be at peace with her family and its history.

The story is told through Lily's eyes, mouth, mind and heart, and as such it is deep, hilarious and inspiring. When we read about the beehive and honey-making, we get the sense that Lily has a deep desire for nurturance, owing to the absence of a mother in her life. The Secret Life of Bees will certainly strike a chord with any family.I recommend :The Usurper and Other stories, Tractor in Ukrainian,Disciples of Fortune , The Mermaid Chair. I also enjoyed them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absorbing story, 2 Oct 2013
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This book had been recommended. An excellent story, well written, no detailed sex and violence, and plenty to think about.
Im about to reread it.....just to take time to enjoy it again, and think about some of the issues.
An ideal book for a book club.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well told, 1 Nov 2007
This is a simple story, well told. It is about a girl searching for the answers to her past in the American South. While I greatly enjoyed it, I found the civil rights era scenes to be a little unbelievable, other than that I like it. I was immediately drawn to the main character and her inner struggle. The themes or racism and family dysfunction at once reminded me of Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" or the novel "Bark of the Dogwood," though those books are more complicated. If you want a simple story that is paced well, "Secret life of Bees" will work for you. If you're looking for the great American novel, look somewhere else. I would recommend this book to anyone from highschool level upwards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book, 20 Jan 2014
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The perfect read. A very different story written and told in a sympathetic way following the quest by a young woman to find some history relating to her mother. The ways of honey bees form a background to the story. An unusual and thoughtful book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 4 Oct 2013
By 
Sue W (BURTON-ON-TRENT, STAFFS United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
A superb book, so heart wrenching in places. I first borrowed this book and after reading it had to buy my own copy so that I would always have it. I've since bought the DVD and while it does differ slightly it is very true to the book and has the ability to reduce me to tears in places.
Well worth reading and owning.
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The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (Paperback - 25 July 2005)
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