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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

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  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-07-12 Member Since 2010

    Mom of three

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Lisa SOUTH ELGIN, IL, United States 03-15-12
    Lisa SOUTH ELGIN, IL, United States 03-15-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Beautifully written, expertly narrated."

    They couldn't have picked a better person to narrate this lovely story. Jenna Lamia brought every character alive, let you get inside of them, feel their emotions. It's such a wonderful story of life, companionship, love, forgiveness, bravery, dignity. Don't pass this one up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 01-28-12
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 01-28-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Pleasant and thoughtful about loss & relationships"

    But I prefer something more entertaining.

    The story is about Lily’s grief over losing her mother and her feelings about what’s going on around her. She hurts at the racial problems happening to her black friends. This book is told from Lily’s point of view. We do not see feelings or thoughts from a black person’s perspective. That would be a different story. This story is about Lily’s loss and hurts and then finding love and support with black women.

    During the last half of the book I was sad and depressed. It made me think about losses and regrets in my own life. I think I’m better off if I don’t think about those kinds of things. I prefer to read books that make me feel happy, emotionally fulfilled, and forward thinking. I prefer books that take me on an adventure or escape. So, I’m not the best audience for this book.

    I admired August. I grew attached to some of the characters. I liked August’s answer to Lily when Lily asked why her mother Debra married an abusive man T Ray. August said he wasn’t that way in the beginning and that people change after life gets through doing things to them. When Debra left T Ray, he sunk into bitterness.

    A couple of side stories were interesting. We learn some things about bees. The ladies had regular services and traditions where they honored Our Lady. The story was that Our Lady was in chains by the master and broke free. August said Our Lady goes into the holes that life has gouged out of us.

    One thing bothered me. Lily is a wonderful girl in many ways. Yet when she is angry about her mother, she goes into a rage where she breaks all the jars of honey. And she never apologized. It bothered me. This is how August makes a living, and Lily has just destroyed her income. You don’t destroy someone else’s property like that, and it’s even worse when they are taking care of you. Sure this was meant to show Lily’s grief. But negative feelings stayed with me after the book.

    The ending was good for Lily and Rosaleen.

    NARRATOR:
    The narrator Jenna Lamia has a pleasant teenage girl voice. She was good.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Penny 01-18-12
    Penny 01-18-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Excellent for Adults or Teens"
    What made the experience of listening to The Secret Life of Bees the most enjoyable?

    The narrator's ability to portray the characters inflections and personalities.


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

    The description of losing her mother.


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

    Lilly for sure


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

    She was excellent - had me at every word. There was so much to hear and comprehend and she lead the listener with ease.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    melissa scarborough, on, Canada 01-16-12
    melissa scarborough, on, Canada 01-16-12
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    "Add it to your library you'll not be sorry..."

    Narration by Jenna Lamia is spectacular - I didn't want it to end. It's a touching story well written by Sue Monk Kidd. It's another one of those "can't put down" or "kept me up late listening" type of books. I would listen on the subway and could easily miss my stop as I would get so involved in anticipation of what was next.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada 01-11-12
    Linda Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada 01-11-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Enjoyable"

    Love Jemma Lamia as she tends to bring anything she reads to life. The book was great and I am now looking forward to seeing the movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Manning, ND, United States 07-30-11
    Michele Manning, ND, United States 07-30-11 Member Since 2012
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    "The Secret Life of Bees"

    This is a great listen to book. I would recommend it. The author and the narrator are excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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