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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,804
  • 4 Stars
    903
  • 3 Stars
    256
  • 2 Stars
    61
  • 1 Stars
    53

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,683
  • 4 Stars
    492
  • 3 Stars
    112
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    33

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,373
  • 4 Stars
    655
  • 3 Stars
    212
  • 2 Stars
    56
  • 1 Stars
    42
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • L
  • 02-05-10

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.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Bee-utiful!!

If you could sum up The Secret Life of Bees in three words, what would they be?

Best. Narrator. Ever.

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

The confrontation between T Ray and Lily in the home of the calendar sisters.

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

Rosaleen

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

Yes

Any additional comments?

A lovely, moving, and memorable book. It will stay with me.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring

I had to read this book for English but nahh so I just listened to it and holey crap does this book suck. Literally has no plot line... thanks to my teacher for wasting 9 hours of my life. But hay the narration was cool though

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Perfection

I marvel that it took me so long to "discover" what's become a modern classic ... but better late than never - and Jenna Lamia, as narrator, has become one of my favorites. In fact, it was doing a search for her other narrations, after listening to "The Book of Polly" that brought me here. Simply lovely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ed
  • 02-03-11

An enjoyable listen

Had I not read "The Help" first, so much this book might have earned five stars too. To me, the most interesting character is this story was May. The author earned six stars for May's character development. As a matter of fact, most of the female characters were well done, while I thought the male characters were average. The story was fairly predictable with no big surprises and no outrageous plot twists. I think the story lends itself to a sequel and I hope the author takes a stab at one. I look forward to renting the movie version. And the narrator did an outstanding job.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful