2002 - The Secret Life of Bees
This book is a tiny little sparkling gem; a jar of honey on a sunlit windowsill. In The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd tells of a young woman, Lily, who runs away from home with her housekeeper Rosaleen in search of the story of her mother. This is 1960s South Carolina and the fact that the main character is white and her housekeeper is black is central to the plot. The pair winds up working for room and board on a honey bee farm run by a trio of black sisters with a bright pink house and a curious religious system.
I've avoided giving spoilers in my reviews on this blog in the hopes that a thorough description of a book's qualities will entice other readers to discover the endings for themselves. I'm continuing that tradition with one small exception for this book: I can't help but reveal that it has a wonderful, satisfying, happy ending. It's hard to write a happy ending that doesn't come off as sappy or toothless, but Sue Monk Kidd did a masterful job weaving together loose ends to tie up this tale with a beautiful bow.
I accidentally loaned out my copy of this book before I had a chance to copy out the quotes that caught my attention. I'll come back and update this post in a couple weeks when I have access to it again. In the meantime, here are some recommendations for other uplifting coming-of-age tomes:
- My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
- Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells (I especially recommend listening to the audiobook version)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Keep turning the page,