Customer Reviews for

The Secret Life of Bees

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

18 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

Very Good!!

I'm only eleven years old and loved the book. I got it at the library after seeing the trailer to the movie. It is a very humbling book. I don't think that kids under 13 should read it though. It has lots of cursing and is extremly descriptive in parts it shouldn't be. ...
I'm only eleven years old and loved the book. I got it at the library after seeing the trailer to the movie. It is a very humbling book. I don't think that kids under 13 should read it though. It has lots of cursing and is extremly descriptive in parts it shouldn't be. It was an awsome book though. Please read it you will love it!!!

P.S. The books i recomended are even better!!!

posted by Sarah_661 on October 18, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Trite

How can a writer fit so many cliches into one short book? Gratingly predictable. A definite screenplay for a Lifetime movie.

posted by Anonymous on September 30, 2005

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  • Posted September 15, 2009

    secret life of bees

    I really enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees. When I was first told that I had to read it I was kind of disappointed. I started reading and it was so good! The book was about a girl by the name of Lily. She was 14 years old and had no mother. She was told by her father, T-Ray, that she killed her. Lily was sick of T-ray and decided to run away from him. She found a box with her mother's stuff in it and found the name of a town: Tiburon, South Carolina. Lily and her nanny, Rosaleen, ran away. Lily gets to Tiburon and is looking for the black Mary on anything. She soon found it in a grocery store. It was on a honey bottle. She asked where it was from and the grocery store guy said it was from and he told her. She finds herself face to face with a bright pink house. She meets June Boatwright and then August Boatwright. She asks if she can have a place to stay and August gladly accepts her. Lily then lives in the honey house with Rosaleen. May Boatwright is the next person she meets, then the Daughters of Mary. She loves all of them immediately, except June. She doesn't get along with her. Then she meets Zach and starts to like him. Lily lies to all of the people I just mentioned for a while and eventually the truth had to come out. She tells August everything. Many other things happen so I recommend you read the book.
    I really liked this book and would recommend it because it is full of suspense and action. A few things might even surprise you! It's a book you will want to read over and over again. I thought the author's message was that life is short and everybody has things in their life that they're not proud of. I learned that people's lives are hard and they need at least one good friend that they can rely on. People are not always as they seem even if they pretend everything is perfect.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    Easy read, warm and interesting characters, nice story

    If you like movies/stories like Man In The Moon, Fried Green Tomatoes and My Girl - then you will definitely like this one. I loved the characters and wish I even knew them. I recommended it to my mother.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 23, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A rather unique tale of the South forty years ago

    Sure, there have been novels written over the years dealing with the American South of the 60's and earlier. A lot of them should have never been published, but among those that have survived - and justifiably so - add Sue Monk Kidd's "The Secret Life of Bees" to the list. <BR/><BR/>Lily Owens is a teenage girl living in South Carolina in 1964 who has, to put it mildly, an extremely bad relationship with her father, known as T. Ray. This may have something to do with the fact that she accidentally killed her mother when she was four years old. From that time on, she's been under the care of Rosaleen, an African-American woman who was working as one of her daddy's farmhands until he "recruited" her to serve as his housekeeper and "substitute mother" for Lily. <BR/><BR/>But Lily's hatred for her father and the racial prejudice of the time combine to force Lily and Rosaleen to flee to Tiburon SC, where Lily hopes to find some information about her mother. What she finds is far beyond her expectations, and causes her to rethink not only the memories she has of her mother, but her whole world-view - an immense change, considering where she lives and the political and cultural climate of the times. <BR/><BR/>Kidd has written what is sure to be regarded as a classic, on the same level as "To Kill a Mockingbird".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2008

    I love Honey

    I loved this book..I bought it when visiting my sister and packed it for the flight home. I was sucked in instantly. The compassion of those willing to love and the strength of women is moving..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2014

    Good easy read

    I read this book for my book club and was surprised how much I enjoyed reading it. Very easy read and the movie followed the storyline.

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  • Posted January 9, 2014

    What I liked: There were several things I loved about this book.

    What I liked: There were several things I loved about this book.
    1. I read this in winter and the book made me warm. Set in sweltering S.C. heat, it helped me forget how cold I was.
    2. The Beekeeping aspect was fascinating. I loved how Lily described the bees and their sounds in terms of rhythm and life. The hum of the bees brought me into the story and kept me there.
    3. I thought the author did a good job painting the period of racism and brink of social change.
    4. The story had tragic elements which made it very interesting.
    5. The ending made me smile.

    What I didn't like: The characters hold home church-like services and basically worship the Mother Mary/slave statue. At first I thought the book was going toward a Catholic-like faith, but it was instead Idolatry, as I can't remember any mention of faith in Jesus. The characters pray to the Mother Mary statue for power -- an idea that could lead some readers astray if their understanding and faith in Jesus is not solid.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Highly recommend!

    Very well written, story captivates immediately

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    The sentimental and suspenseful novel, The Secret Life of Bees T

    The sentimental and suspenseful novel, The Secret Life of Bees This book is filled with crazy ups and downs of emotions. It starts with having strong sympathy for a 14 year old girl, Lily, who was terribly living in an extremely harsh and abusive environment, which was almost unlivable. She escapes this horrific living style with her housekeeper, who was getting harassed by a group of racists. Later, T-Ray comes to pick up Lily, but he doesn’t pick up Rosaleen, the housekeeper. There are so many elements in this novel that made it surprising and entertaining. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I liked all of the twists and turns, it really was an emotional roller coaster. I appreciated the tender qualities of the story and it's endearing characters.

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  • Posted September 25, 2013

    This book would be one of my favorites if it wasn't for the endi

    This book would be one of my favorites if it wasn't for the ending. It seems that the author didn't put too much effort on the ending which was a big disappointment for me. Other than that the story is beautiful and makes you believe the characters really exist.

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  • Posted April 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Recommended

    The Secret Life Of Bees was an excellent book. It starts off a little slow, but it ends up being a great book. It had a lot of good quotes in it that I believe really appeal to the reader. One of my favorites is "Knowing can be a curse on a person's life. I'd traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn't know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can't ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now." This quote pretty much sums up the book, in my opinion. The main theme that this book is centered around is truth. Lily never really knows the truth about her mother and it takes a long time for her to tell August the truth. Because of everything this book dealt with, it was hard to read. There was a lot of sadness involved with everything that happened. While the book does have a happy ending, it takes a while to get there. I, personally, loved this book; however, I am not easily affected by emotional reading. While I enjoyed this book, I would not recommend it to anyone who has a hard time dealing with sadness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    Worth Reading

    Such a great read

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  • Posted January 29, 2013

    I recently finished reading The Secret Life of Bees, and I absol

    I recently finished reading The Secret Life of Bees, and I absolutely loved it. The main characters are a young teenage girl named Lily Melissa Owens, her colored caretaker Rosaleen, and three colored beekeeping sisters that take Lily and Rosaleen into their lives with ease. Lily is a kind girl who is constantly mistreated by her father, T. Ray. She always feels a cloud of regret hanging over her because she thinks had accidentally shot her mother as a toddler, but she’s always too afraid to ask.She is brave and smart, and she constantly wonders what life would be like if her mother was still alive. Rosaleen acts as a mother to Lily. She takes care of her and comforts her when she can. She also has a very brave, rebellious soul, which has its consequences. For example, even though it’s dangerous for colored people to try and vote at that time, Rosaleen practices writing her name repeatedly so she can go register, and on the way there, she angers two white men and ends up beaten and in jail. This leads to Lily breaking Rosaleen out of the hospital she was taken to, and them heading to Tiburon, SC, where Lily is sure her mother has been due to a picture of a black Mary that her mother had owned with the name of the town scrawled across the back of it. When they arrive they meet the three Boatwright sisters: August, May, and June. August is the oldest Boatwright sister, and definitely the wisest. She acts as a mother to Lily the same way as Rosaleen did, and she is usually where Lily and the others in the household go for comfort and advice. June is a bit of a bitter soul. She doesn’t like Lily at all at first, and therefore she constantly acts rude to her. She refuses to get married to a man she obviously loves because she is afraid that he will walk out on her like the last man did, and that she’ll be hurt all over again. May is the most fragile of the sisters. She is constantly humming a tune called “Oh Susanna” when she gets upset throughout the novel, which happens extremely often.  August tells Lily of how their mother said that she carried her heart on the outside of her chest. She is easily hurt by all the sad things that go on in the world, and she is also a bit strange. I think that there are two main conflicts in the novel, one being an internal conflict in Lily’s mind, with her trying to come to terms with her new life and find out who she really is, and the external conflict being between Lily and her father, who is tracking her down so he can take her back home.

     I liked this novel because it had such real characters in it and the reader can really identify with them. Being a teenage girl myself, I easily fell in love with Lily’s character, and I felt I could understand her insecurity with herself. I also liked the way the book was written because it made it so easy to read. I had no trouble getting through the book, and it was very clear and easy to understand. Lastly, I liked the fact that it wasn’t a clichéd, typical happily ever after ending, yet the ending still had a happy tone. It made the novel all the more realistic and enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this book to other people because, bookworm or not, this easy read is inspiring and truly original.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    Amazing! These three major characters are Lilly, August and Zac

    Amazing! These three major characters are Lilly, August and Zach. As a character, Lily’s two most important traits are her determination and her longing for maternal love. Lily finds a mysterious font of confidence after her fourteenth birthday and after she sees Rosaleen confront a group of racist men in Sylvan. August Boatwright is unique. Not only is she a black woman in the South who runs a successful business, but she is a black woman who also owns a great deal of property, is educated, has eschewed the conventions of marriage, and does not flinch or shy away from the opportunity to take care of a young white runaway girl. Zach Taylor serves as a type of foil for Lily. Born and raised in Tiburon, and never without the love and support of the Boatwright sisters, he has grown up with many advantages. He is good at sports, handsome, intelligent, and hardworking—and he has been praised and paid because of these traits. The internal conflict is Lilly wrestling with her having no mother and how she killed her mother, and the external conflict is all the racism, such as with Rosaleen and Zach, as well as with Lilly and T-Ray, who is trying to track down Lilly. One of the two major plots is Lily deciding that it is time to run away. She decides to go to Tiburon, because of an old picture her mother gave her, there is a black Mary statue with Tiburon SC written on the back of it. Which lour her over there. Another one is Zach inviting Lily to go with him on an errand, to drop off some honey at Clayton Forrest's office. While she is there Lily decides to call T. Ray, which was a bad idea. He gets mad, yells at her for running away, and then demands to know where she is. He then threatens to hurt her once found.
    What I liked about this book was the characterization of Lilly and her braveness, for example her leaving to Tiburon with rosaleen after she stood up to three racists. Another thing that I liked was the intensity this book builds up. For example T-Ray threatening to hurt Lilly once she is found for running away. The last thing that I liked about this book was the setting which took place in a time of poverty and racism. This was in the year 1964, without this setting the book wouldn’t have been the same. I would recommend this book because it is very exciting and interesting. For sure it is to interest you at the first line. This book is very realistic with its setting and last but not least it is simply amazing.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    You, Go, Red! Want to snuggle up with a thriller that will keep

    You, Go, Red!

    Want to snuggle up with a thriller that will keep you on the edge of the covers? Little Red Riding Hood has it all: a great villain, suspense, justice, and a moral at the end. In this final installment of the “It’s a Scary World Out There” series, Aesop retains his title as a master of the bedtime story.

    Red is a normal little girl, sent out into the dangerous world on a mission of mercy to her grandmother, who lives on the other side of the forest. She meets up with Wolf, a master of disguise, who slyly gets important information from her that will allow him to set a trap for the unsuspecting young girl. Red gets to grandmother’s, but there is dramatic irony, because we know something Red doesn’t know: it’s really Wolf all tucked into bed, just pretending to be Grandmother. Red I seriously over matched, and lines like“My, what large teeth you have, Grandmother” really gets the suspense rolling!

    Red is the typical innocent young girl that you see in all these kinds of stories, and we really don’t get to know much about her as a character, except for her wardrobe choices and that she’s dumb as a bag of hammers. And though we get a bit more insight into Wolf’s personality in the getting-ready-for-Red-to arrive scene, he is not much more than a stock character either. I read The Three Little Pigs, and thought Wolf was more persistent and more believable in that, because the writer gave him more to work with, maybe. Still, he’s smarter than Red, and plenty tricky, and when he gets going, I couldn’t put the book down because I just had to see what he was up to.

    There isn’t a ton of dialogue, and what is there isn’t flowery, but it is memorable, and there are a couple of unforgettable lines that you will recall long after you put the book down (I can still hear Wolf telling Red in that phony-grandmother voice ,“All the better to see you with, my Dear,” “All the better to hear you with, my Dear,” and it sends shivers down my spine every time!). So if you’re looking for depth of character and nuance, pass this story up, and go pick up a copy of Charlotte’s Web instead.

    To heighten the suspense, the writer switches back and forth from Red happily skipping through the forest to Wolf getting rid of Grandma and jumping into bed in her nightgown, and that was frustrating, because it really wasn’t necessary. And that whole flashback that explained why Wolf became such a nasty guy was wasted ink. Still, the whole plot was pretty easy to follow, mostly because the writer doesn’t crowd this story up with unnecessary characters and descriptions of the flowers in the forest: everyone here is essential to the story, and every action pushes the plot forward to it’s inevitable climax.

    If you like fast-paced action without a lot of wasted pages spent on developing characters who are just going to die anyway (or are they?), Little Red Riding Hood is a true winner. Read it, and remember not to talk to strangers.

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  • Posted December 7, 2012

    Great !

    Great !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Page turner

    Page turner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Great book

    I really different read but great

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    !

    !

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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Too realistic for my taste.

    This book was just not my style. The writing was great and I can see why people love it, but for me the story was a little slow. In addition, I am not really into books about groups of women banning together to overcome tragedy-too realistic for my entertainment needs. I want a book to take me away from the realities of this world with an over the top storyline or make me want to be a teenager again. This was a little to close to the nightly news for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Great book.

    I read this book when I was in like 5th grade. It was amazing and I definitely reccomend it to anyone that likes stories about love and family.

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