Book Review: The Secret Life of Bees


Thanks to my goal to read more books (I haven’t quantified it yet–maybe one per week, we’ll see), I finally read The Secret Life of Bees. When I was in high school, my drama teacher encouraged me to read it and maybe turn it into a monologue, but I never did it even though I had the best intentions. Anyway, fast forward ten years and the book is still on my mind. Not to mention while I was looking for books to put on my list, I found Oprah’s Book Club. This month she is reading The Invention of Wings also by Sue Monk Kidd–synchronicities, anyone?

This book was the perfect starting point for my goal to read more. It fed every bit of my soul and imagination. Here are a few of the thoughts I experienced while I read:

I am only to page 52 and I can feel Lily’s spiritual journey spilling out of the pages, jumping like beads of light. Never before has a piece of fiction touched my heart, broken it, and mended it again in so few pages. The bees have become my friends and the black Virgin Mary a symbol for my own changing paradigms. Reading with my window open, the sounds of birds and bees make this book come alive even more. Thank you, Sue Monk Kidd for opening the world of fiction for me again.

“I wondered if Mary had been an outdoor type who preferred trees and insects over the churchy halo she had on” (58).

Black Madonna Honey. I think I stopped more than Lily did when she found that picture on a bottle of honey. Peace and answers came to her in more ways than one through the Black Madonna.

I cried with them. Every time May went to the Wailing Wall, I longed for my own. I still consider going outside and building one for myself, and if I owned the land my house sits on, I probably would. Instead the world’s worries whir away in my center, welling deeply until I’m sure I have nothing more inside of me.

Then August said something. Something that struck me in that hole and started to fill it again.

“You’ve been halfway living your life for too long. May was saying that when it’s time to die, go ahead and die, when it’s time to live, live. Don’t sort of maybe live, but live like you’r going all out, like you’re not afraid” (211).

I want to keep bees now. I want to write again. I want to find the colors of the world and paste them to paper with the tip of my pen.

I echo Lily’s own little prayer. “Come on. Don’t mess up your time to live.”


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