Book Reviews of The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
ISBN-13: 9780670032372
ISBN-10: 0670032379
Publication Date: 10/10/2002
Pages: 320
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 84 ratings
Publisher: Viking Adult
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

8 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Secret Life of Bees on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A wonderful story, great characters, a must read for everyone, I made my two teen daughters read this and recommended it to my book club, I found it hard to put down and read all through the weekend. The characters are well rounded and I lived the bee quotes at each chapter.
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Loved this book!!!
reviewed The Secret Life of Bees on + 82 more book reviews
A wonderful read & it's filled with colorful characters that you really get involved with. I recommend it.
reviewed The Secret Life of Bees on
I really enjoyed this book. I wouldn't say that the scenario was entirely realistic, but it was beautifully written, a great coming of age story.
reviewed The Secret Life of Bees on + 4 more book reviews
This is one of those books that stays with you after you're done reading it. It's a great book.
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A chick flick waiting to happen, a la Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. My dream casting: Billy Bob Thornton as T. Ray, Queen Latifah as August, Oprah as Rosaleen, Brittany Murphy as Deborah. Read more (including discussion questions) at

From Publishers Weekly
Honey-sweet but never cloying, this debut by nonfiction author Kidd (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter) features a hive's worth of appealing female characters, an offbeat plot and a lovely style. It's 1964, the year of the Civil Rights Act, in Sylvan, South Carolina. Fourteen-year-old Lily is on the lam with motherly servant Rosaleen, fleeing both Lily's abusive father T. Ray and the police who battered Rosaleen for defending her new right to vote. Lily is also fleeing memories, particularly her jumbled recollection of how, as a frightened four-year-old, she accidentally shot and killed her mother during a fight with T. Ray. Among her mother's possessions, Lily finds a picture of a black Virgin Mary with "Tiburon, S.C." on the back so, blindly, she and Rosaleen head there. It turns out that the town is headquarters of Black Madonna Honey, produced by three middle-aged black sisters, August, June, and May Boatwright. The "Calendar sisters" take in the fugitives, putting Lily to work in the honey house, where for the first time in years she's happy. But August, clearly the queen bee of the Boatwrights, keeps asking Lily searching questions. Faced with so ideally maternal a figure as August, most girls would babble uncontrollably. But Lily is a budding writer, desperate to connect yet fiercely protective of her secret interior life. Kidd's success at capturing the moody adolescent girl's voice makes her ambivalence comprehensible and charming. And it's deeply satisfying when August teaches Lily to "find the mother in (herself)" a soothing lesson that should charm female readers of all ages.
reviewed The Secret Life of Bees on
I'm a librarian, so I have heard about this book over and over again, for years. Not only was it on the NY Times bestseller's list, but it seemed like every book club in the country read it at some point or another. Well, there's a reason for it: this book is fantastic! 14-year-old Lily Owens, and Rosaleen, her housekeeper (more like family member/best friend) run away from home, to escape their individual troubles - Rosaleen from jail, and Lily from her abusive father. They end-up staying with the "calendar sisters", three African-American women who keep honey for a living. These women give Lily the first loving home she has ever know, and teach her about strength, motherhood, forgiveness, and doing the right thing. The civil rights movement, and race relations, underline all the action, events, and relationships.

Before I read this, I read Kidd's The Mermaid Chair, and it's hard to even compare the two - this book blows it out of the water! The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I reserve 5 stars for books like "To Kill a Mockingbird" (which is very similar to this book) and other classics. A great read!
reviewed The Secret Life of Bees on + 130 more book reviews
Having lived in the South all my life, this book brought tears of joy and sadness but captured life in the mid to late 20th century.