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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 (1429 )
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  •  
    Laura Cincinnati, OH, USA 02-05-10
    Laura Cincinnati, OH, USA 02-05-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    1
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    Overall
    "It's hard to stop listening..."

    This book's story line, character development, rich imagery and pacing are such a treat! The narrator's vocal ability is superb and she provides added depth in the way she represents the characters and describes the scenes. This is my first GREAT audiobook experience and my enthusiasm for this format has been renewed.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joey Chicago, IL, United States 05-17-10
    Joey Chicago, IL, United States 05-17-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    157
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    58
    37
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    12
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    Overall
    "Awesome narrator"

    This is a great book by itself. Add narrator Jenna Lamia and it's one of my all time favorite audiobooks. I liked Jenna Lamia so much in this book that I bought a bunch more books that she narrated without even having heard of them (with mixed results). She has the perfect voice for this story.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reina Damascus, MD, United States 12-17-10
    Reina Damascus, MD, United States 12-17-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    1
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    "Excellent Book"

    I have no complaints about this book, only praise. It was well written, kept my attention, I was captivated by the characters, and loved the narrator. This is one that will be listened to many times. You will find yourself laughing and crying along with the joys and sorrows of the characters as they grow from their experiences. Buy this book! You will be like me and finding more books by Sue Monk Kidd.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Walker KCMO 07-29-10
    S. Walker KCMO 07-29-10 Member Since 2009

    Suzzzie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    65
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    23
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    6
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    Overall
    "So Goooooooooooood!"

    OK, I bought this when it was on sale. I had it in my wish list for a long time but it was low priority. Boy am I glad I got it! Aside from really enjoying Jenna Lamia as a narrator of other audiobooks, I thing she did a really good job here, even if her southern accent was less than authentic.
    The story is lovely and heartbreaking. I've wanted to see the movie but now that I've enjoyed the book so much I'm afraid that Hollywoods version will destroy the beauty of it.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 12-28-10
    Melanie Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 12-28-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
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    3
    3
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    1
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    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    One of the best books I've ever read or listened to! Couldn't turn it off!!!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidi Napa, CA, United States 06-02-10
    Heidi Napa, CA, United States 06-02-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    112
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    500
    26
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    11
    5
    Overall
    "Very nice, heartwarming story."

    I love a coming of age, heartwarming story, and this was a very nice one. Lily is a charming, strong willed character that I fell in love with instantly. She breaks away from the terrible life she is left with by her mother's death, and goes in search of her mother's past. It is a very enjoyable story, with some darkness, and humor to balance it nicely.

    I recommend it, and bought it for my teenage nieces, who loved it!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-12-09
    06-12-09 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    "Good book"

    This is a great book. It is a wonderful story and I love the way the narrator reads it. The movie is really good, and I saw it first, but the book is so much better - as is usually the case.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D.Botz 06-06-11
    D.Botz 06-06-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    35
    2
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    0
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    "Beautifully Written, Beautifully Read"

    After wearing out the paperback version of this book, I finally broke down and purchased the audiobook. Jenna Lamia does a great job of narrating, and really helps the reader to fall even more in love with Lily and the other strong female characters.

    The story itself is inspiring and heartwarming. There is sadness and darkness, but Sue Monk Kidd does a great job of interjecting humor and lightheartedness at the perfect times. I've read and listened to this book more times than I can count, and it has never disappointed.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Victoria Hopcroft, Esq. Oscoda, Michigan 01-15-11
    Ann Victoria Hopcroft, Esq. Oscoda, Michigan 01-15-11 Member Since 2010

    Attorney & Artist

    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
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    49
    7
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    0
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    Overall
    "Bee Buddies Buffer Baddies"

    A poignant story of a young girl who finds herself born into a violent, abusive, rascist environment and has the strength, ingenuity and open-mindedness to fashion a beautiful new life for herself encouraged by the secret lives of the bees and their most excellent keepers. The effort was appreciated also as a cultural commentary, lest those of us living in this arguably post-racial society might not remember the hurt, pain and misunderstandings wrought by racism.
    The story is well-constructed; the characters are well-developed -- I want to meet August Boatright -- and masterfully narrated. A very enjoyable listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Phoenix, AZ, United States 10-29-10
    Cheryl Phoenix, AZ, United States 10-29-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
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    2
    2
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    1
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    Overall
    "Loved this dramatization"

    Jenna Lamia takes a great book and makes it even better. I have read this book, seen the movie and listened to the audio, but my favorite is the audio version. The textures of the voices Jenna created for each character are so distinct and realistic, I could practically see the faces of each! A real treat!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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