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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 (1671 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Amazon Customer menlo park, CA, United States 07-23-12
    Amazon Customer menlo park, CA, United States 07-23-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Great Read!!"

    This was one of my daughter's summer reads and it was magnificent. I chose to read it with her and couldn't stop listening! The narrator did a fantastic job!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Ogle Tennessee 07-09-12
    C. Ogle Tennessee 07-09-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A little slow at first ....."
    Any additional comments?

    Started out slow but was very good once it got going. It puts me in mind of the Help!.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robyn S Smith Moody, AL, US 06-24-12
    Robyn S Smith Moody, AL, US 06-24-12
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    5
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    "A great vacation read!"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    This is a book about a young girl's search for a mother's love. Against all the odds, she finds it in an unexpected place.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    As a southerner, I usually try to stay away from books where a narrator uses a faux southern accent. But because I had read Traveling with Pomagranats, I really want to see what Ms. Kidd had developed in this book. I thought the narrator did a pretty good job of sounding southern without making me cringe.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marie FORT SMITH, AR, United States 06-08-12
    Marie FORT SMITH, AR, United States 06-08-12

    I love to read and listen! I like all types of books, but lately I have been reading teen dystopian fiction. Favorite authors are Stephen King, Lauren Oliver, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Hawthorne, and Poe. I am an English teacher and I am always looking for the next great read...

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    "Wow- The audio book transports me back..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, very well produced. Good quality.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lily and August. Lily because she tranforms her life in one summer and becomes a strong woman. August because she is like a Queen bee who takes care of every one.


    What about Jenna Lamia’s performance did you like?

    Great! She embodies Lily. Her accent and tone are spot on with what I heard in my head when I read the book the first time. I played it for my 11th grade class and they said the same thing.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Cry... I won't tell why.


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent read for a tranformation story set in the time of extreme racism. The book will make you want to eat honey so have some on hand.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy 05-31-12
    Nancy 05-31-12 Member Since 2011
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    "MUCH Better than the movie!"
    Would you listen to The Secret Life of Bees again? Why?

    Yes, already have! I really enjoyed the plot.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I can't pick just one thing!


    What does Jenna Lamia bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her accent really made it for me. Her accent put me right there with every word.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There were several points when I was really moved. I think each one was probably based in an act of real courage to go against the norm for that location and time.


    Any additional comments?

    I am so glad I saw the movie AFTER listening to the book. The book is just so much better at character development than the movie. Listening to the book made want to just settle back on a porch swing and watch it play out. Really enjoyed this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean FORT COLLINS, CO, United States 05-13-12
    Sean FORT COLLINS, CO, United States 05-13-12
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    "OK book"
    What did you like best about The Secret Life of Bees? What did you like least?

    OK story line but well written.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Sue Monk Kidd again?

    Nope


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    Narrator was perfect for the character.


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

    Nope


    Any additional comments?

    This book was recommended by a person whom obviously does not know me well, because this is not my kind of story I like to read/hear. Doesn't mean it was a bad book, just not my cup of tea.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-07-12 Member Since 2010

    Mom of three

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    "Beautiful!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Secret Life of Bees the most enjoyable?

    I thought Jenna Lamia did a great job with the voices and dramatization. I also thought the story was very touching. The characters grew and changed during the story, but were dear throughout! Well -- except for T-Ray!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The characters!


    What about Jenna Lamia’s performance did you like?

    Everything!


    If you could take any character from The Secret Life of Bees out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    August. She is so wise and down-to-earth. Maybe she would rub off on me!


    Any additional comments?

    I love this book, the story, the characters, and the many words of wisdom woven in. Lovely! I also learned a lot about bee-keeping!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LH huddleston, VA, United States 04-30-12
    LH huddleston, VA, United States 04-30-12 Member Since 2011
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    "This is a Wonderfully written book"
    Would you listen to The Secret Life of Bees again? Why?

    Maybe, I usually do not reread or listen to books a second time but this was such a well written and enjoyable book, I would consider rereading it. The Secret Life of Bees has so much wrapped up between the covers of this book that its hard to begin to appraise it. Sue Monk Kidd has tackled the race issues of the 50 and 60s head on in this book. But she does it in such a way that the emotions and tensions of the period are revealed harmoniously. Using a young white girl to reveal the suffering of the blacks during this period is a unique and enlighting way to get her point accross.


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

    The most memorable moment of this book is when Lilly helps Rosaline escape from prison/hospital.


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

    Rosaline was my favorite character.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MommaLeoni Manchester, NH 04-28-12
    MommaLeoni Manchester, NH 04-28-12 Member Since 2012
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    4
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    "Beautiful story of the complications of family and"
    Would you listen to The Secret Life of Bees again? Why?

    I would listen again, yes, it is a great story that is set in the early 1960's, a sometimes scary and sad, yet simple time. Loved the sweet voice of the narrator.


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

    Not to spoil the story, but the sister, May, touched my heart in her innocent love for others and their hardships, and how she ultimately responded to the grief and sadness.


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

    Loved all the "Calendar Sisters". They knew the secret of "how to do life"...


    Any additional comments?

    This is such a lovely story, please don't miss this!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rita P. 04-18-12
    Rita P. 04-18-12
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    "Unassumingly Charming Southern Literature"

    This novel was read beautifully by Jenna Lamia. She really captured the voice of Lily.

    This story captures the culture of the 60s in the South in a beautiful, rather than tragic way. The story of her discovering who she is - no doubt a result of her past, and a child of the South, but not one to be stuck in the mire of either - is an inspiring one. We should all learn to love so readily.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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