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The Secret Life of Bees | [Sue Monk Kidd]

The Secret Life of Bees

Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing debut novel has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed.
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Publisher's Summary

Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing debut novel has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed.

When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother", Rosaleen, insults three of the town's fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina - a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There, they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household.

This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love - a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

©2003 Sue Monk Kidd; (P)2008 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1849 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Margarita 06-18-14
    Margarita 06-18-14 Member Since 2013
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    12
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    "A feel good book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Secret Life of Bees to be better than the print version?

    I didnt read the book but I loved it being read to me by Jenna Lamia. She even had a southern accent to make it seem more real.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lily. I loved her character. I loved seeing her develop herself in the book. She started as a meek girl who felt she was worthless and developed into a strong woman full of courage and love.


    What about Jenna Lamia’s performance did you like?

    Her accent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joy 06-17-14
    Joy 06-17-14
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    REVIEWS
    5
    5
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    Performance
    Story
    "Kept me listening...way too long!!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Secret Life of Bees the most enjoyable?

    Great story line with just enough descriptives to set it in your mind's eye. There were no lulls, good pace...both comedic and heart wrenching.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Loved them all. August and Lilly were the center of the story and best developed.


    Which character – as performed by Jenna Lamia – was your favorite?

    Lilly


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I could have.


    Any additional comments?

    Great read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri 06-10-14
    Terri 06-10-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Exceptional performance of an exceptional book."
    Where does The Secret Life of Bees rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The top.


    What other book might you compare The Secret Life of Bees to and why?

    The Help, but it's even better.


    What about Jenna Lamia’s performance did you like?

    I always enjoy her performances, but I think she outdid herself here. Her timing, inflections... all is superior.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine 06-08-14
    Catherine 06-08-14 Member Since 2015
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    1
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    "Liked the story; disappointed by narrator"
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Loved all the strong women in this story! My own journey is enriched by strong women characters and I learn lessons, along with Lily, about who I'm becoming and how women in my life impact me; how we learn from each other.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jenna Lamia?

    I'm too new to audiobooks to recommend anyone but I do wonder...are there no Southern narrators who could read books set in the South? I was often terribly distracted by the forced accent and, in some cases, just incorrect pronunciations. (Where is the editor in those instances?) I read many rave reviews about Jenna's work. I suspect those reviews weren't written by Southerners.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 06-06-14
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 06-06-14 Member Since 2014

    I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.

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    "Absolutely Loved It!"

    I don't know why I avoided reading this book for so long - it was such a wonderful story! Jenna Lamia is a great narrator and made this read near perfect. It is a heartwarming book that focuses on the relationships between women, with a few men sprinkled in here and there. It is set in South Carolina in the 1960s, and portrays how we all belong to one race - the human race.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ceenut 04-17-14
    Ceenut 04-17-14
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    "One of the Best"
    Any additional comments?

    I don't usually go for this genre, but I was won over from the very beginning. The characters are vivid, the writing is creatively descriptive and witty (without being flowery). The performance was spot on and endearing. The story had a powerful message, as all good stories do. I would recommend this book to anyone- an easy, enjoyable listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Misty Pocatello, ID, United States 04-10-14
    Misty Pocatello, ID, United States 04-10-14 Member Since 2009
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    48
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    "LOVED the narrator!!"
    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The ending was just right for this book. A little predictable, but just what we wanted. We actually had a great conversation in my book club, considering the ending and what could have happened in the years that followed. Excellent springboard for the imagination.


    Have you listened to any of Jenna Lamia’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't heard anything else from this narrator but you can be sure I'll look for her!! Jenna Lamia was PERFECT for this book. I found the story line was not necessarily my cup of tea, but I couldn't stop listening because I just loved to hear her tell it!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica WESTMINSTER, CO, United States 03-28-14
    Monica WESTMINSTER, CO, United States 03-28-14 Member Since 2015
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    2
    2
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    "So-so"
    Would you try another book from Sue Monk Kidd and/or Jenna Lamia?

    I loved Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings and that is why I listened to this book. I must say The Invention of Wings was far superior in my opinion. In addition, I love Jenna Lamia. I was hooked on her from The Help and The Invention of Wings. This book was a bit boring and lacked excitement.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Sue Monk Kidd? Why or why not?

    Yes. The Invention of Wings was amazing!


    Have you listened to any of Jenna Lamia’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have listed to The Help and The Invention of Wings narrated by Jenna Lamia. She is one of my favorite narrators and did not disappoint in The Secret Life of Bees.


    Did The Secret Life of Bees inspire you to do anything?

    Not particularly.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Della Lee Americas 01-29-14
    Della Lee Americas 01-29-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Very enjoyable listening"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Secret Life of Bees to be better than the print version?

    I found the audio easy to follow and keep track of characters. I have not read the print version and feel no need to after hearing the audio edition. The reader's voice was appropriate for the setting and enjoyable.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Secret Life of Bees?

    The phrase, "Some people bite off more than they can chew, but August chews more than she can bite off." That was memorable


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Rosalie confronted Lilly, after they escaped from the hospital, questioning her motives.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Secret Life of Bees and why?

    August was so strong and steady and loving--very memorable. But, May will also stay with me as she was so in tune and I loved her wall.


    Any additional comments?

    All the comments about bees were wonderful and informative. At the end I was remembering how I love to crawl under the drooping branches of the desert Ironwood trees in the spring when the bees are hard at work. When I curl up near the trunk, the bees ignore me and I can sleep listening to the symphony all around me. This book spoke of the same sensation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mari Fort Walton Beach, FL, United States 01-15-14
    Mari Fort Walton Beach, FL, United States 01-15-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Yah, I'll Listen to this Again"
    Where does The Secret Life of Bees rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The slow start of the book is forgotten after you get into the main section. So much color and emotions and real history. You end up loving all of the characters. I would listen to it again for sure.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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