KimN ~ The Secret Life of Bees

21 06 2009

The Secret Life of Bees ~ Sue Monk Kidd

TSLOBI started reading this book on the airplane back from Texas, in mid-May, and hadn’t gotten back around to finishing it until now.

So far, so good!

June 21… Finished this book today.  I think it will definitely have to be a book I read a second time to fully absorb it all.  Kidd writes with incredible detail and imagery – the story of Lily just jumps off the page.  Here is one of my favourite examples from the novel…

“… the redness had seeped from the day and the night was arranging herself around us.  Cooling things down, staining and dyeing the evening purple and blue-black.”

I love the thought of the night arranging itself around you… such a powerful image!

Besides the writing style, this novel is a beautiful story about women – specifically mothers, as Lily is searching for just a glimpse into her own mother’s past and the truth about why she lost her.  The novel made me reflect on how lucky I am to have such an amazing mom and how lucky I am to have grow up in a Christian home.  Allow me to explain… 🙂 As the novel starts to wrap up, August (when you read the book, you’ll know who that is!) explains to Lily that even though her mother was gone, there was a presence inside her acting as her conscience, causing her to stand up for herself, and causing her to continue living with love.  For August and Lily, this is the presence of  ‘Our Lady in Chains’, for me this is Jesus.  As August explains, ‘Our Lady in Chains’ watches over Lily saying this: “Lily, you are my everlasting home.  Don’t you ever be afraid.  I am enough.  We are enough.”  What a powerful thought that sums up one of the central themes of this novel.

Kidd also does a great job of portraying a young white girls realization of the racism, as she runs away from home and moves in with 3 black sisters amidst the beginnings of the days when black people were finally allowed to register as voters.  Its really interesting to walk through this era from the point of view of Lily.

I highly recommend this book… I had all these things to say about it and I haven’t even gone in to how Kidd uses the metaphor of bees!  Each chapter begins with a short excerpt from a non-fiction (I’m assuming) book on bees and their habits – of course, this excerpt specifically relates to the happens of the following chapter…