The Secret Life of Bees Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Secret Life of Bees

Lily grows up with her abusive father and her nanny. While coping with the loss of one family member, she runs away with her nanny and finds people she would love to call her own family. She also finds out more information about herself and her mother then she was looking for.
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The review of this Book prepared by Lindsy Carter

At 14, Lily Owen's life is spent longing for the mother she can barely remember and the hazy memory of her mother's death. In the rural South Carolina of 1964, racial violence is brutal and, when Lily's surrogate mother the family's black servant, Rosaleen falls victim, Lily and Rosaleen run away in pursuit of Lily's mother's identity and some sense of belonging. With only a handful of clues to guide them, Lily and Rosaleen are taken in by three eccentric beekeepers who set Lily on a course to understanding her family and growing up. Woven in and around this, Kidd gives us a vivid portrayal of the civil rights era American south, Lily's relationship with Rosaleen, and her budding romance with a young, idealistic black boy.
The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Martin-Romme

Lily is a 14-year-old girl whose mother died tragically when she was 4. She sets off with the woman who raised her, a black woman named Rosaleen, in search of answers about her mother, who she was, and confirmation that her mother loved her. She flees her father, a farmer with a temper who doesn't seem to have any paternal instincts. Lily and Rosaleen find themselves living with three black bee-keeping sisters, May, June, and August Boatwright. Through her experiences with the "calendar sisters" and their bees, Lily reaches a sense of belonging and peace.
The review of this Book prepared by JMoy

Living on a farm in South Carolina with her cruel, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory-the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Her only real companion at home has been the fierce, black woman Rosaleen, who acts as her mother.

One day, when Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it's time to spring them both free. They take off in the only direction Lily can think of, toward a town called Tiburon, South Carolina. Lily found the name of this city on the back of a picture amind the few possessions left by her mother.

There they were taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey. Maternal loss and betrayal. guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most.
The review of this Book prepared by Boppy

Chapter Analysis of The Secret Life of Bees

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Father (or standin) Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   search for family/history Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Coping with loss of loved one(s)    -   Yes Loss of...    -   mother

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   6 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast    -   Northeast    -   Deep South Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch:    -   farm Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Sue Monk Kidd Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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