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The Secret Life of Bees eReader by Jaycee Dugard

Click Here to Download the Book Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily decides to spring them both free. They escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters, Lily is introduced to their mesmerizing world of bees and honey, and the Black Madonna. This is a remarkable novel about divine femal power, a story women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

Reviews Set during Mississippi's struggle against implementing the recently passed Civil Rights Act, this novel is a coming of age story of an abused and abandoned white girl. Typical of the times, she has been raised by the housekeeper / nanny and is closer to her than anyone else in the world. When the nanny finds herself in jail and under serious threat of murder by white men, her charge helps her escape and the two find sanctuary in a house full of crazy black women several towns away. As they heal, they become as much a part of the house as the sisters who lived there before them. This is a wonderful novel that explores the bonds between women, including those of friendship, motherdaughter, sister-sister, and woman-deity. Although I was able to read this book in one sitting, I found myself thinking about many of the ideas explored within for days afterward.

I did the backwards thing with this particular book, and actually watched the movie before reading the book, which I usuall make it a strict rule NOT to do. But, once upon a time on Netflix, I thought I was renting "Akeela and the Bee" but clearly, got the wrong movie, so I shrugged and watched it anyway. A year later, my co-worker recommended the book to me, too, and she was so excited that I obliged, and relived the story again, in a much more vivid way, as the book is ALWAYS better than the movie, of course. What I particularly enjoyed about this is the imagery and personification that rings loudly through each page. It's as if Mother Nature wrote the book herself...descriptions about the heat, honey, sun, wind, light...everything is beautiful and written sincerly through the eyes of a child. It's beautifully written, with the reader clinging to the pages as young Lily discovers the mystery of her mother, slowly but surely. Unfortunately, the facts don't uncover happy truths, but I could actually appreciate this, strangely. Of course, I was hoping for a different outcome, but this is a book of struggle as much as anything. Had she uncovered something different, I think it would have really changed things. Lily had many stuggles through this story, which will break your heart and make your laugh out loud at the same time. (I giggled whenever she told a man something about "female problems" to make them feel uncomfortable and leave her alone...") The characters Lily meets, especially the calendar sisters, are a distinctly beautiful collection of people, who have faced their own struggles as well. They all find a certain strength in their bond with one another. Deeply beautiful. Deeply magical. I would recommend for a young woman, around her "tween" age, butI believe any woman with a beating heart can appreciate it, either way.

I loved everything about this book; but what was especially interesting to me was the main character, Lily Owens. Basically, the whole book is about Lily maturing from a girl into a young woman--which we can see very clearly because she's the one who is narrating the story. Lily is a very determined person, and longs to figure out why her mom was going to leave her when she was just four years old.

So she runs to a house where three women, August, May, and June, lived that had taken care of her mother when she was young. These three women are able to help her through very hard times. Lily is able to learn the truth about why her mom was leaving her and comes to realize that it wasn't her fault. She can now process the guilt and confusion she had before about her mom and is even able to still love her even though she did leave Lily and her father.

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