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11.02.2014
Sue Monk Kidd's debut novel, The Secret Life of Bees, is a coming-of-age story about feminine spirituality, racial tension, and manuevering through love, loss and change. Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees might have been written with the calculation of getting chosen for Oprah's Book Club. So Bees is another entry in the long tradition of books and movies about whites being nurtured and schooled by the example of the black underling. I hope so, because adapter-director Gina Prince-Bythewood has made an honorable movie, wonderfully attentive to the skills of its excellent cast, that turned this devout cynic into a believer. August (Queen Latifah), who runs the bee farm, is the matriarch of the clan, beaming wisdom and common sense to a child voracious for any human touch.
The Secret Life of Bees is a great choice for women's book clubs, and has the potential to promote lively discussions. What is "the secret life of bees?"Do you think race was portrayed realistically in The Secret Life of Bees? May (Brit actress Sophie Okonedo) has long been in mourning for her dead twin sister April.


In the book Lily daydreams of meeting her mother Deborah in heaven; and after 10,000 years telling Lily she was not to blame for her death, Deborah would spend the next 10,000 fixing the girl's ratty hair.
What do you think Sue Monk Kidd was saying about race in this novel?Why did Rosaleen spit on the men's shoes? Gone With the Wind?) The novel is set in rural South Carolina in 1964, which is just about the time it would have automatically been turned into an Oscar-nominated movie. Her emotions are deep and constantly near the surface; she is given to weeping and keening when she sees the pain of others.
Finish the book before reading on.How would you describe Lily's feelings about her mother?
With her high forehead, Afro coiffure and commanding hauteur, she is a preview of militant black women like Kathleen Cleaver and Angela Davis — and the least maternal of the Boatwright brood. How did hearing that her mother left her affect her perception of her mother?Do you belive T-Ray's account of what happened when Lily's mother died?Did your opinion of T-Ray change when August told Lily about how much he used to love her mother?
Do these kinds of prejudices still exist today?What was your reaction to Lily's relationship with Zach?


Does Deborah's abandonment explain or excuse T-Ray?Do you agree with Lily that people would rather die than forgive?
Can it find an audience to nurture in the old, noble, now-discredited Hollywood traditions? Lily wants to die too; and when she runs away and discovers the Caribbean-pink house of the three Boatwright sisters, it's as if she's died and gone to heaven.
What do you think about the legend of the Black Madonna?Rate The Secret Life of Bees on a scale of 1 to 5.



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