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the secret life of bees book cover

The Secret life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Long story short:

14 year old Lily Owens runs away with her nanny, Rosaleen. She dos this in order to escape her tyrannical father, and the white men that want to kill Rosaleen. 


Hmm… so I have mixed feelings about this one! I enjoyed it, but it just didn’t have that ‘wow’ factor for me that I was hoping for. 

Don’t get me wrong, the prose is nicely written! It’s simplistic yet eloquent, however, I did get a little bored with the bee and religious information. 

The main issue for me is about the portrayal of race… 

It’s just another book that stereotypes black women as ‘mammies’. They are friends and advisors, and their story is told through a white narrator. It just creates a false narrative and it’s been done one too many times for me. 

It does deal with important themes such as suicide, abuse, violence and racism … but why does it need to be told through a white woman? 

The only purpose the black characters serve in this novel is to allow Lily to find her way. It just wasn’t realistic at all. It doesn’t feel authentic in the slightest. It shows an incredibly gross lack of understanding of the black experience in 1960s South Carolina. 

There’s so much more that I could say, but I’m going to stick a pin in it there… 

It’s annoying because I did enjoy it whilst I was reading it, but I don’t know whether that’s because I feel like I had to/everyone said it was a great book? But mostly, it’s problematic. 

Upon reflection, it wasn’t buzz-worthy for me, but let me know your thoughts! (Also, please laugh at my pun)

#ANovelPage rating 3/10

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