I had a certain level of apprehension about reading The Secret Life of Bees. The movie trailer certainly caught my interest and I knew it was based on the book. By default all books are better then their movie adaptation. So I figured, the book has to be good, but still it didn't fall into my area of interest. Normally I read books that pertain to my area of interest or things I already have a knowledge of. This book is very much centered around the civil rights movements of the 60's and... well... I never really had too much of an interest in the movement. I'm glad it happened, people deserve their rights and it shoudn't matter what your skin tone is. But all the hatred, all the crimes that were committed, the very terrors that African Americans had to deal with kind of scares me so I shy away from it all. So there are many points in this book where I'm shaking off chills because I know that despite this is a fictional work it's based on reality.
"I had the same birthday as the country, which made it even harder to get noticed. When I was little, I thought people were sending up rockets and cherry bobs because of me- hurray, Lily was born! Then reality set in, like it always did."
This quote made me laugh because it's straight from my mind. I was born two days after the Fourth of July and thought the very same thing. It's something pretty insignificant but I found it amusing. "There ARE people who thought that the Fourth of July was for them!"
Moving along, the structure of the story is interesting in that it's from the POV of a 14-year-old girl. The language that Lily uses is very mature for a girl of that age and normally it seems people shun such intelligence. But it works, her attitude, her actions, everything is a bit more mature then what one would assume any 14 year old would have. Granted, some of her actions are quickly made and without much planning, but there are people of all ages who do such things. Mid-life crisis anyone?
The book is emotionally heavy dealing with the stress of the 1960's, the injustices done, and the personal history of two families becoming one. It highlights how small of a world is, color aside, when color at one time used to make such a heavy difference.
At times people go hunting for something specific in their lives that they feel is missing. What always makes the world so exciting is that most times you can find that item in the oddest of places. As if the world has lead you to that point. It's hard to realize that, everything has a meaning, even something so frivolous as a honey jar label. But it's true.
I feel that this is a great book to give to the maternal person in your life near Mother's Day. The journey of many strong women all looking for that motherly bond makes for a wonderful story. I was pleasantly surprised with the book, I truly enjoyed it despite it not being in my normal range of interest.
And now, I am going to go have some honey. :-)
Next Book Up:
I'm either going to pull out the Vampire Chronicles or pick another book off my shelf I haven't read yet.