The Secret Life of Bees: A Novel (10th-Anniversary Edition)

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Overview

A beautiful slipcased special edition commemorating the 10th anniversary of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, a heartwarming coming of age tale set in 1960s South Carolina and a multi-million copy New York Times bestseller as well as a Good Morning America “Read This” Book Club pick
 
Fans of Kathryn Stockett’sThe Help and Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt will love Sue Monk Kidd’s Southern coming of age tale. The Secret Life ...

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Overview

A beautiful slipcased special edition commemorating the 10th anniversary of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees, a heartwarming coming of age tale set in 1960s South Carolina and a multi-million copy New York Times bestseller as well as a Good Morning America “Read This” Book Club pick
 
Fans of Kathryn Stockett’sThe Help and Beth Hoffman’s Saving CeeCee Honeycutt will love Sue Monk Kidd’s Southern coming of age tale. The Secret Life of Bees was a New York Times bestseller for more than 125 weeks, a Good Morning America “Read This” Book Club pick and was made into an award-winning film starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed.

When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's most vicious racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—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. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love.  To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the book’s debut, Penguin presents a beautiful special edition of this wonderful novel, including a new introduction by the author—a gorgeous book that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143120261
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/23/2011
  • Edition number: 10
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,420,607
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

SUE MONK KIDD is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels, The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair, and the memoirs Traveling with Pomegranates, which she wrote with her daughter Ann Kidd Taylor, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, When the Heart Waits, as well as Firstlight, a collection of her early writings. The Secret Life of Bees has spent more than 125 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into an award-winning movie starring Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys. The Mermaid Chair, a #1 New York Times bestseller, was adapted into a television movie. Both of her novels have been translated into more than 24 languages. The recipient of numerous literary awards, Sue lives with her husband on an island off the coast of Florida.

Biography

Sue Monk Kidd first made her mark on the literary circuit with a pair of highly acclaimed, well-loved memoirs detailing her personal spiritual development. However, it was a work of fiction, The Secret Life of Bees, that truly solidified her place among contemporary writers. Although Kidd is no longer writing memoirs, her fiction is still playing an important role in her on-going journey of spiritual self-discovery.

Despite the fact that Kidd's first published books were nonfiction works, her infatuation with writing grew out of old-fashioned, Southern-yarn spinning. As a little girl in the little town of Sylvester, Georgia, Kidd thrilled to listen to her father tell stories about "mules who went through cafeteria lines and a petulant boy named Chewing Gum Bum," as she says on her web site. Inspired by her dad's tall tales, Kidd began keeping a journal that chronicled her everyday experiences.

Such self-scrutiny surely gave her the tools she needed to pen such keenly insightful memoirs as When the Hearts Waits and The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, both tracking her development as both a Christian and a woman. "I think when you have an impulse to write memoir you are having an opportunity to create meaning of your life," she told Barnes & Noble.com, "to articulate your experience; to understand it in deeper ways... and after a while, it does free you from yourself, of having to write about yourself, which it eventually did for me."

Once Kidd had worked the need to write about herself out of her system, she decided to get back to the kind of storytelling that inspired her to become a writer in the first place. Her debut novel The Secret Life of Bees showed just how powerfully the gift of storytelling charges through Kidd's veins. The novel has sold more than 4.5 million copies, been published in over twenty languages, and spent over two years on The New York Times bestseller list.

Even as Kidd has shifted her focus from autobiography to fiction, she still uses her writing as a means of self-discovery. This is especially evident in her latest novel The Mermaid Chair, which tells the story of a woman named Jessie who lives a rather ordinary life with her husband Hugh until she meets a man about to take his final vows at a Benedictine monastery. Her budding infatuation with Brother Thomas leads Jessie to take stock of her life and resolve an increasingly intense personal tug-of-war between marital fidelity and desire.

Kidd feels that through telling Jessie's story, she is also continuing her own journey of self-discovery, which she began when writing her first books. "I think there is some part of that journey towards one's self that I did experience. I told that particular story in my book The Dance of the Dissident Daughter and it is the story of a woman's very-fierce longing for herself. The character in The Mermaid Chair Jessie has this need to come home to herself in a much deeper way," Kidd said, "to define herself, and I certainly know that longing."

Good To Know

Kidd lives beside a salt marsh near Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband, Sandy, a marriage and individual counselor in private practice, and a black lab named Lily.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 1339 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1342 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    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. It was an awsome book though. Please read it you will love it!!!<BR/><BR/>P.S. The books i recomended are even better!!!

    16 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A outstanding and moving novel...

    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.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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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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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The audio rendition brings this beautiful story to life...

    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.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2002

    The Secret Life of Bees earns a "C"

    Though Ms. Kidd's writing is beautifully evocative,"Bees" needed much tighter editing in the last half of the book. For a teenage girl who had a self admittted fault of talking too much,the plot line of Lily waiting so long to ask August about her mother just did not ring true.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2005

    Trite

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

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Enchanting: The Secret Life of Bees

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2009

    READ THIS BOOK!!

    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.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2005

    the worst book ever

    i thought this book was good at the begining but after getting into it i noticed that this book is way to in depth with how women act. what i mean is that lily talked way to much about her girly problems. know one want to hear about a 14 year old girl ceresing her body in front of a miror. yes there were some parts that were very good but for the most part i thought that the whole point of the story is so hard to belive. i mean do you really think that lily and rosaleen could have hitched a ride to some were they didnt even know and just end up living with three black women. it just doesnt happen.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2003

    Good story until the end

    I read the great reader reviews and bought this book with great expectations. I really let myself get taken away with the young girl's story - in fact, couldn't put the book down. I was so disappointed in the ending. It was simply too cut and dry for my taste and unbelievable, especially after the rest of the story was told in such rich and mostly believable detail. I'm sorry to say, the ending simply ruined the book for me.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2002

    a read, but definitely not the best

    Someone recommended this book to me and just raved about it. Maybe, my expectations were to high. I felt that this book was just O.K. I started the book and couldn't put it down for the first couple of chapters, but I soon lost interest and almost didn't finish it. This may not be my type of read.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    I love this book!

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    coming of age tale

    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

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2009

    The Finest Book I've Ever Read: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

    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.

    2 out of 3 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2005

    Boring

    I think the book was boring especially during the beginning of the book. I mean boring as in sleep sounds better than reading this book. Who would want to read a book about a little girl who runs off. She only ran off just because she think her dad or 'T.Ray' didn¿t love her. So she runs off with Rosaleen. Now Rosaleen being black and during this time period. People where very raciest so Rosaleen got beat up. Lily goes to some August¿s house and ends up stay there a while. Then T.Ray shows up at the house beats lily. Then lily ends up stay there.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2005

    Quite disappointing

    I picked up this book, thinking it would be a great read since it was in the bestsellers section... but I found it quite boring and slow-moving. I forced myself to finish the book, hoping it would get better as the story progressed, but it left me disappointed.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2005

    Really disapointing

    This book started out good but really failed to hold my attention. I felt like I spent way too many hours reading about uneventful things and when something finally did happen, it was a disapointing turn in the story. Not for me.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2004

    Dull and disappointing

    This may be the most maudlin, manipulative, meaningless novel written since 'The Bridges of Madison County'. What horrid depictions of women as superstitious victims of their own making. The author strings together several vague themes (mermaids, bees, hats, etc) to appear profound, but merely succeeds in deluding readers who are looking for personal redemption and revelations between the lines. The characters never gain our sympathy, the plot (what plot?)fails to gain our interest and the writing fails to exceed sixth grade standards. If I could, I would award this novel -5

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2004

    I am in the minority, but....

    I think this was one of the worst books I have ever had the misfortune to waste my money on. I had heard from three friends how wonderful it was, and I bought it without reservation, thinking it would eventually offer me something in a way of a reason to finish it. I don't abandon books very often, but I gave up on this one halfway through. Perhaps because I came from a family where little to no love was demonstrated, but I found myself extremely anxious and uncomfortable for the time I did try to read it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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