×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Secret Life of Bees
     

The Secret Life of Bees

4.4 1349
by Sue Monk Kidd, Jessica Hische (Illustrator)
 

See All Formats & Editions

From A to Z, the Penguin Drop Caps series collects 26 unique hardcovers—featuring cover art by Jessica Hische

It all begins with a letter. Fall in love with Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible and hardcover editions, each with a type cover showcasing a gorgeously illustrated letter of the alphabet. In a design collaboration

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Secret Life of Bees 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1349 reviews.
Sarah_661 More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Andapanda29 More than 1 year ago
The story was eloquent, well written, and poignant, but what I think really grabbed me and kept my keen interest was the narration by Jenna Lamia. Her voice was as fluid and sweet as honey and her story-telling just brought you right into the story. One could almost be convinced Lily Owens was an actual person and Jenna's voice was really Lily's as she told you the story of her summer. I loved listening to the audiobook and when recommending this book to anyone, I always tell them you cannot fully appreciate the beauty of this story without hearing Jenna's narration of it on audiobook. I've listened to it twice already.
k-dub More than 1 year ago
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.
ELA_IRI More than 1 year ago
The Secret Life of Bees is a wonderful novel which kept me wanting more and more by every turning page. The novel starts off in South Carolina in the year 1964. Lily Owens is a 14 year old girl who is the main character of the novel. The whole entire plot surrounds around her blurry memory of her mothers death and her motherless life. She lives with her father T-Ray and nanny/best friend Rosaleen. Rosaleen use to work on T-Ray's peach farm but after the death of Deborah, Lily's mom, she quickly took the roll as nanny. Lily decided to join Rosaleen one day while she went to go vote. While going there Rosaleen started to get harassed by a group of racist, she immediately affronts the group. The officers come and beat her then they arrested both Lily and her. T-Ray comes around later to pick up Lily but not Rosaleen. Before all this happened Lily use to watch bees fly around her ceiling and she use to collect them in a jar. After she got arrested she saw how the bees escaped the confines of the jar, she got a epiphany to run away. She goes to the hospital where Rosaleen is held for her injuries and breaks her out. They both start running away to Tiburon, South Carolina. Lily wanted to go here because she saw that address on a black Virgin Mary she found in her mothers stuff. She discovers later on that the Black Virgin Mary is a label for honey maker in that town. In their search they find a pink house with three eccentric sisters, August, June, and May Boatwright. This is where the rest of novel takes place and where Lily has a life changing experience. I really love this book it has so much detail and the characters have such personality sometimes I could almost imagine it in my head perfectly. Even though many people might have found the ending to be dull or leave a reader hanging I found it to be very satisfying and it suited the novel's plot very well. From start to finish I don't think I reach a moment where I might have gotten bored. I would suggest this book to everyone except very young kids because the language and extremely descriptive parts aren't suitable. Otherwise this novel is a must read for anyone looking for something for fun, free time, school or just about anything. I really suggest this book to everyone out there it has to be one of the best books I have read in a while.
MeganElaine More than 1 year ago
I read this book a few months ago so the details escape me, but I really didn't think this book was all that great. It has few redeeming qualities- the thinly described historical aspects as one and the geographical descriptions of South Carolina (appreciated by a native) I didn't fall in love with the main character, Lily. I felt her secret was dragged on for so long in order to create more pages in the book, which is unrealistic at best. Her internal and emotional descriptions by the author did not reflect Lily's physical actions; I thought this book employed a childish writing style. The author made an attempt to tie in the Civil Rights era in this book, but it was thin and from a distant observer's point of view, considering the many characters that were apparently affected. Overall, this book would suit someone who is looking for a typical "feel good" and "predictable ending" read. I was looking for a novel with a little more historical value tied in and a more realistic main character.
DeeAnne More than 1 year ago
This novel is truly one of my favorites. The reader immediately develops sympathies for the protagonist, a young motherless teenage girl on a journey to find a sense of belonging and security in the world. I connected with so many elements of the novel: the southern setting, the idea of a religion/spirituality outside the normal constraints of a church, the many strong female characters, and the interesting nonfiction tidbits woven throughout the plot concerning the habitat of bees.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I wish the language weren't so bad in the first 50 or so pages, but other than that it is an incredible book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story of young Lily Melissa Owens in Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees is a heartwarming adventure of a young girl who tries to find her place in the world. In her fourteen years, she has carried with her a sorrowful regret that has emotionally stunted her growth. When she was four years old, she accidently killed her mother, Deborah. Her thoughts of that tragic day have caused her to live her life in flashbacks and everyday she wishes she could turn back time. Sue Monk Kidd takes Lily on a journey in discovery of her life and the life of her mother. With only a few clues of her mother (an old picture, her white gloves, and a wooden picture of black Mary) and the small amount of stories her father, T. Ray, has told her, Lily begins her new life. With a sincere pleasure of writing and her delicate, balanced tone, Sue Monk Kidd captivated my interest from the first page, and I had no choice but to find out how Lily's life was going to end up. In order to read this book, you must awaken all of your senses. Kidd takes her readers to places that feel familiar and I felt as if I was able to reach into the book and touch Lily's face, lift her head up, and tell her that everything will turn out just fine. I felt a genuine connection with Lily, one greater than with any other book I have read. She reminded me of what my life was like as a fourteen-year-old, and I could not imagine carrying as big a burden as she had at that age. To say I love this book would be an understatement. Sue Monk Kidd's use of language delighted me and left me feeling satisfied with not only the story, but with the greater world, the meaning of family, and the places in my mind where I have recently remembered love's true meaning.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 I thought the book The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd was a good book, but I didn't find it very believable. The main character, Lily is a 14 year old girl who thinks she knows everything and thinks she knows whats right for her. Towards the beginning of the book, Lily finally gets the guts to run away from her abusive father, T-ray. Lily meets up with her best friend/nanny, Rosaleen, and sneaks her out of the hospital after she gets in trouble with the police. Lily decides to run away to Tirbon, South Carolina after seeing it written on a picture of her dead mother. After getting to her destination, Lily knocks on the door of some bee keepers, and they gladly let her stay at their house. I didn't think this part was believable, Lily staying at a house in 1964 with three colored women. At the end of the book, Lily realizes that she doesn't need her real mother to feel like she has a family. I think that there was a lot of unneeded writing in the book and I thought it had a slow beginning that dragged on. But there were still some interesting events where you may get angry at the characters. This is why I gave the book three stars, I do recommend the book, if you don't mind a slow beginning, although it isn't very believable.
DrJenski More than 1 year ago
This was a quick read and definitely not worth more than $10! The story was OK, but nothing great. The characters were very one dimensional. The book doesn't inspire me to see the movie.
Meaningful_Book_Lover More than 1 year ago
I kept being told to read this book and that it was amazing, and after I read it I was sort of disappointed. Maybe the book was too over hyped for me or perhaps it just isn't for me, but I found it just to be ok. I can see how it would be a good read for a lot of people and there is a lot of meaning and tough times behind it, but it didn't hold my attention very well and I don't find myself wanting to reread it. Overall, it was just ok.
b-thorson More than 1 year ago
I personally enjoyed Secret Life of Bees. It really made me look at people's lives a different way. Most of the time I didn't understand what was going on because I hadn't experienced a traumatic crisis like that. I still enjoyed the book though. Lily, a 14 year old girl, learns the worst thing ever. T. Ray, her father, told her that she killed her mother. Lily didn't believe it one bit because she loves her mother even though she died. Her step-in mom was an African American named Rosaleen. Rosaleen wasn't a step mother, but Lily saw her as a mom. When Rosaleen goes into town to register to vote, something bad happens. So after Lily does everything in her power to make it right, she decides to run away. Earlier she had found a box that was full with her mother's belongings. On the back of a picture there was writing, it said Tiburon, South Carolina. So when Lily and Rosaleen run away, that is the first place Lily looks. Little to her surprise, she found what she was looking for. The picture was of Black Madonna, and it was on a honey jar. So Lily decides to go find out what the people knew about her mother. She ended up at a bee farm with 3 African American ladies, August, June, and May. Lily didn't tell them the truth of why she was there and decided to keep it a secret until the right time. Many things happened before Lily told the truth, but eventually it can out. Lily found everything she needed to know, and she was pleased with herself. When all was said and done she realized she couldn't go back home, she was a fugitive for running away. T. Ray finds out where she is staying and.. Well you'll just have to read the book and find out. Sue Monk Kidd is an amazing writer. Maybe you won't like Secret Life of Bees, but you never know until you read it and find out. She wrote this book like she experienced it. There are times in it, when you lose track of reality and just stay in the book. Read the book and you'll see that really good.
adunlea More than 1 year ago
Set in the 1960's US in a time of racial tensions Lily narrates her coming of age tale. Lily flees her abusive father and the police with her nanny Rosaleen to find more of her mother's history. She goes to live with the three calendar sisters who have a profound influence on her life. August adopts her as a daughter and helps her to forgive herself and love others. It is a celebration of family and motherhood. Vivid description and enchanting characters record Lily's journey to womanhood in a Kidd's unique southern voice. Reviewed by Annette Dunlea author of Always and Forever and The Honey Trap
Kellie_Grabher More than 1 year ago
This book was recommended to me by my mother-in-law. We must have some really different taste. I know people liked it but I just wasn't one of them. Just really slow paced for me. Characters I liked but not my cup of tea.
nprfan1 More than 1 year 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.

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.

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.

Kidd has written what is sure to be regarded as a classic, on the same level as "To Kill a Mockingbird".
Guest More than 1 year ago
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..
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Secret Life of Bees was just a regular book for me. I got into the book at the beginning and then I slowly lost interest. The book is about a white girl who runs away from her abusive father with a black worker from her farm who took care of her. Some events seemed to be drug out when they could have easily been written faster. However, throughout the book Lily made me yearn for my mother. My mother lives three hours away, and this book made it seem like she lived across the country. I could not even begin to imagine my life without her in it, let alone the guilt of thinking I killed her that Lily struggled with throughout the entire book. This book made me appreciate my mom more than ever, if that is even possible. I did not like how it ended. I wanted so badly for T.Ray to tell Lily that it was not she who killed her mother. I wanted her not to live with that guilt for the rest of her life. However, if he had done that, then it would be T.Ray growing soft inside, which would be out of character for him. Overall, the book for me was just another book. I am not about to run out and tell everyone to read it, but it was an okay book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Seeing that this book was one of the bestsellers at the book store, I thought that I was in for a great read. I found the book to be slow and a bit boring. The story of a white girl being raised by African American women during that period and in the south was completely unrealistic. Not only was this book not a page turner, it was dull.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A moving and well written story, however sad and disturbing at times. Be prepared to shed some tears.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was highly recommended...but I found it lacking......there was great use of imagery and detailed character descriptions, the meat of the story was lacking.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book came highly recommended to me, however, I found I was bored with the story halfway through and was glad when it ended. I enjoyed the bee 'facts' that started each chapter more than the actual mother/daughter plot. It just moved a little too slowly for me...
Guest More than 1 year ago
After starting of on a high note and well afloat, I never thought a story could sink faster than a submarine with a sieve door. I was left with the feeling that the author had no where else to go. And please, spare me the ho-hum ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting, well-written book with finely-drawn characters. Ms Kidd portrays this troubled time in US history honestly. At times the book is beautiful, especially when it shows how women can be nurturing and protective of other women. One does get the sense though, that someone, either the author or perhaps Lily, sees all women as all-good and the majority of men as all-bad. What concerns me is the current of 'theology' humming through this book. It often times masquerades as Christianity, and more specifically Catholicism. But it is not Catholicism! It is some New Age cafeteria blend of Catholicism, nature worship, Gnosticism, female worship and narcissicism. If you are weak or vulnerable in your faith, or your faith is not grounded on sure knowledge, this book may lead you into error. This may sound overly melodramatic, but I don't believe in taking chances with one's salvation. If you decide to read this book, keep in mind that even though Ms. Kidd got a lot of things right in this story, all contained therein is not truth. And sometimes error can be insidious, sliding in when we aren't even aware of it...an extreme example: do you think those of the People's Temple in Jonestown, Guyana knew they were in error?
Guest More than 1 year ago
THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES is a touching story about a white girl who leaves her abusive father and finds a home with three crazy black women. If nothing else, this novel made me believe that there is good in the world. That even in South Carolina, at a tumultuous peak in racism, there were those who accepted people regardless of their skin color. Unfortunately, that (along with the odd religion the women upheld, and their striking love affair with bees) gave it an other-worldly (or perhaps too-good-worldly), fairy tale quality. The writing seemed forced at times, and the ending closed some issues, but left others wide open (and not in a good way). It's the kind of book that leaves you wondering, 'Does he ever get the girl?'