The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (read July 7, 2015)
I read this book upon recommendation from a co-worker, because I had been struggling to get through the books I was currently reading, and she assured me it was a quick read. She was right, it only took me three days to finish.
This novel is gripping from the very first sentence. Its descriptive language illustrates the narrator Lily’s world in every sense, and drops the reader in Sylvan, South Carolina with her. Bees become a running motif present throughout the entire book, and guide Lily for the duration of the novel. They come to be more than physical bees, also representing the community in which Lily surrounds herself with. This community is strong, and completely driven by independent, empowered women. How great is that?!
My other favorite subject of this book is the absurdity of racism. As this book begins with the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, race was a regularly occurring topic. The unwarranted violence towards African-Americans is heartbreaking, and I’m sure Lily’s dream of a “colorless” world was shared by many at the time. The goal of a society in which race was not an issue still rings true today. Lily discovers the prejudice she’d been raised in, and realizes the irrationality of these opinions. She learns to stand up for her newfound friends, and begins to bring the irrationality of racism to light. As Zach Taylor says many times, “You gotta imagine what’s never been.”
This pseudo-Cinderella story is wonderful, a must-read for all. People may think this is a cliched, overrated book, but I would highly disagree. (Besides, when did a cliché ever kill anybody.)
Rating: 5 out of 5