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The Secret Life of Bees book review

The Secret Life of Bees

Sue Monk Kidd


302 pages


I had to read this novel for a class, but I ended up liking I more than I thought I would. The novel is set to take place in 1964. I always think books based on this time period that deal with race relations are interesting to read and learn more about. There is a movie based on this book too, and I thought that it followed the book pretty well, but as all of you know, the movie is never as good as the book.


Lily Owens lives alone with her dad, her mother having died when Lily was still very young. She carries unhappiness, loneliness, and guilt with her through her 14 years. Her dad is terrible to live with and Lily doesn’t feel like her loves her or cares about her at all. She decides to run away from her dad and home with Rosaleen, a Black woman who works at her dad’s house and helps take care of her. Rosaleen gets into trouble with the law, simply because she is Black, and Lily fears for her life, so together they escape to what they hope will be freedom for both of them. They make their way to a place Lily believes her mother has been and Lily finds herself alone in a house full of Black sisters.


Lily is forced to grow up fast as she searches to find who she is and where she came from. She finds new friends and a new life living with August Boatwright and her two sisters. She learns about the secret life of bees and the art of beekeeping. There she encounters additional problems of race but sees them in a new light. Her dad is searching for her, and when he finds her, will she be forced to leave the life she is making for herself and return home, or be allowed to stay?


This wasn’t my favorite book I have ever read, but I thought that it carried with it a good message. I think that if you are interested in this time period or race relations you would enjoy this book. Or, if you have seen the movie and enjoyed it, I’m sure you would like the book better because they always are better.


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