The Secret Life of Bees is another book I've had for awhile, hadn't read, and then felt sad I waited so long to read it! One thing that kept me from reading it is that I read The Mermaid Chair by the same author with my book club and didn't like it. But every spring we get a ton of bees flying around our Palo Verde, orange, and grapefruit trees and I would think, I should just read it! This spring I finally did.
Lily Owens is a girl who is trying to survive her father in 1964 South Carolina. Her mom died in some shroud of mystery she can't quite put together from her 4 year old memory so she is left with a crappy dad and their sweet, black housekeeper Rosaleen. Rosaleen finds herself in some trouble which forces Lily to run away with her. Lily decides it's a great opportunity to hunt for some information about her mom, so she begins searching for the Black Madonna. What she finds is a strong community of women, and herself.
Here are some of my favorite quotes:
The secret of a good lie is don't overly explain, and throw in one good detail. (Good tip. I'm a terrible liar.)
"She liked to tell everybody that women made the best beekeepers, 'cause they have a special ability built into them to love creatures that sting. 'It comes from years of loving children and husbands,' she'd say."
This is a lovely book about friendship and love sprinkled with Civil Rights. And of course it's also about amazing bees.
Here's a gratuitous bee picture I took in our backyard this spring:
Here is a gratuitous bee painting by Maggie Taylor, called Girl in a Bee Dress:
P.S. This book counts as my Made Into a Movie genre for the Eclectic Reader Challenge, although I haven't seen the movie yet.