14-year-old Lily Owens has little memories of her mother. The one memory she does carry, is that she is responsible for her mom’s death. Her father, T. Ray, is distant and both physically and verbally abusive. When Lily finds a town written on the back of an image of a black Madonna that belonged to her mother, Lily and her friend Rosaleen decide to leave on a search for clues to who Lily’s mom was.
When Lily finds a product in a store called Black Madonna honey, the same black Madonna that is in the picture that was her mother’s, she is directed to the home of the creator of this honey. Lily meets the three Boatwright sisters, April, May, and June, three black women who harvest honey. Lily feels strongly there is a connection between these women and her mother, and plans to stay until she can find out, knowing that back home her father is just learning that she is gone and his anger for her betrayal will fuel him forward to find her.
The Secret Life Of Bees is a warm southern read which if it carried a scent I believe it would smell like bread right out of the oven with fresh honey dripping down thick slices with a background aroma of lilac and clover. This book gives me flashes of that warm feeling I had when I read Beth Hoffman’s Cee-Cee Honeycutt.
I was actually a little surprised how much I enjoyed this book/audio. I do not know what held me back from it all of these years as I clearly know now that I was missing out. Lily is a delightful protagonist. She has been forced to grow up quickly in a world without her mom and a dad who has no idea to be anything but angry.
I can’t think of anything I’d rather have more than somebody lovin’ me.”
― Lily Owens, The Secret Life of Bees
Narrated by Jenna Lamia, who also narrates in The Help, and both of Beth Hoffman’s books as well, the audio flows smoothly as Jenna has no trouble taking on the young voices of Lily and Rosaleen, as well as switching it up to the older Boatwright sisters.
If you have not yet treated yourself to The Secret Life Of Bees I encourage you to do so. You are in for a sweet experience.
Now…. I get to watch the movie!