Tuesday, June 5, 2007
The Secret Life of Bees
"The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd
"I'll write this all down for you," I said. "I'll put it in a story."
I don't know if that's what he wanted to ask me, but it's something everyone wants--for someone to see the hurt done to them and set it down like it matters.
Lily Owens lives in South Carolina with her cruel father and her substitue mother, Rosaleen. After the Civil Rights Act is enacted, Rosaleen and Lily head for town so Rosaleen can register to vote. After Rosaleen insults three heckling bigots she is thrown in jail. Lily's father comes for her, but Rosaleen is left in jail and beaten. Lily returns to town and helps Rosaleen escape from the hospital where she is getting stitches but is still in custody.
The two of them head to Tiburon, where Lily believes her mother once was. Following a clue on the back of a picture of a black Madonna, Lily and Rosaleen find haven at the home of three black women who raise bees. Here Lily learns to live with the secrets of her past.
This was a delightful book. Being a Southern girl myself, Kidds writing brought back memories from clidhood. Hot summer days, waterhose fights, potluck funerals. I just flew through the pages, but the images are still with me.