Book Review–The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees is a phenomenal story about finding love and a family in unexpected places. Sue Monk Kidd is my idol. I aspire to write on her level someday.

Here’s my annotated version of the Barnes and Noble overview:

“Lily Owens’ 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 (in 1964 South Carolina), Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburonโ€”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.”

I was entranced by the writing.

I fell in love with every single character so much so that I wanted to know what happened to them after the book ended. As if I didn’t quite believe they lived only inside the pages of this novel.

Though this is a character driven novel, the plot is strong and kept me wondering what would happen next.

Here are some of my favorite lines from the book…

“But you can’t talk yourself out of anger. Either you are angry or you’re not.”

“Sometimes things of magnitude settle over you with excruciating slowness.”

If I had to describe this book in one word?

Life-changing.

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34 Responses to Book Review–The Secret Life of Bees

    • Totally agree. ๐Ÿ™‚ So sad when I finished it and had to part with the characters.

      • mandyholbert says:

        You know, I loved it so much that I went to the library and checked out another book by the same author. It was not even close to being as good. I couldn’t even make myself finish it!

        • Do you mean The Mermaid Chair? It’s a complete departure from The Secret life of Bees. I adored both books but genre-wise they felt like they should not be shelved together. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • mandyholbert says:

            Yes – that’s the one. It was a huge disappointment, though, admittedly, my expectations were probably too high.

          • I’ve heard a lot of readers felt that way. The Mermaid Chair was recommended by a writing teacher so I read that first. I love the emotions of the story. Then I read The Secret Life of Bees. I think if I had read them in the opposite order, my expectations would have been different and I probably wouldn’t have loved The Mermaid Chair the way I did. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Wow. I’m sold! I love beautifully written stories with captivating characters, regardless of the genre. Lovely review, Kourtney. I dug the movie. Since it’s been a while, I imagine soon would be a good time to read the novel.

    • August, I caught a couple minutes of the movie and this was on my Margie Lawson list of books to read for learning craft. Convergence of importance. I have to rent the movie and watch it all. ๐Ÿ™‚ The way Sue Monk Kidd tells a story. I don’t know anything quite like it. She is a true storyteller.

  2. Yatin says:

    A good package increases the value of an object; choice of garnish increases the appetite appeal of a great dish & a grave review increases curiosity of a reader about a book which otherwise would have been ignored. I wish I could use your skills to write my yearly review at work (annual performance appraisal) ๐Ÿ™‚
    One word for your review. Thought-changing. (in a positive way)

    • Thanks so much Yatin! I love how you put it: “A good package increases the value of an object; choice of garnish increases the appetite appeal of a great dish & a grave review increases curiosity of a reader about a book which otherwise would have been ignored.” So profound and so true. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I hated writing yearly reviews at work. It’s so hard to walk the line of being modest but also highlighting your accomplishments. Ugh. Good luck!

      Ooh, that’s a great word. Thanks!

  3. It was an amazing read. Love the quotes

  4. crubin says:

    Life-changing is how I felt about Rohinton Mistry’s “A Fine Balance.” So now I know I must read this one!

  5. I agree – I LOVED this book. So glad you had the chance to read and enjoy too!]
    anne

  6. jmmcdowell says:

    I haven’t read it yet, but it looks like I need to add it to the list! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. It's the little things that make life great.berry says:

    I love a book that makes u think. Challenges u in ways you never thought possible. Great review.

  8. EllaDee says:

    Thank you for the review. Just checked on-line & it appears to be on shelf in my local library. I’ll get it today ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. mj monaghan says:

    I didn’t see the movie, but heard good things about both book and movie. Sounds fascinating, Kourtney!

    • LOL. Neither did I. Somehow I managed to not see or read either. I heard lots of good things, which oddly enough can be a turn off for me. As if the building of expectations sets it up for failure. But this ended up exceeding all expectations. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh goodness, now I’ve raised the bar too high. It was good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. jbw0123 says:

    I LOVED the Secret Life of Bees, but it’s been a few years. Might have to read it again.

  11. Debra Eve says:

    One of my favorite books! I profiled Sue Monk Kidd on my blog about creative late bloomers. Secret Life of Bees was her novel debut at age 53. She wrote it after a deep spiritual search that completely changed her faith.

    • Debra, I have to read that profile! She is an amazingly talented writer. I love that her books are each a departure from the last but all so beautifully written. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. zelmare says:

    Sounds like a must-read. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. klynwurth says:

    One of my favorites, too. I may have to read it again.

What do you think?