The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, 2002.

Many people have told me how good this novel is, but the clincher was my memory of the elderly beekeeper, a dignified, reserved man, who told me that it made him cry. Yes, it is a very, very good book, although not one of my favorites ever. It didn’t grab me as hard as some books can–too feminine? too Southern? too predictable? I don’t know. Maybe it’s my own mother issues, since the major theme is maternal loss and betrayal. And the magic of bees…that is well-done, though I preferred Beeing: Life, Motherhood, and 180,000 Honeybees by Rosanne Thomas. Too bad the illustration on the cover looks more like a wasp. I hate it when people call wasps bees. Even if I do understand, as an adult, how easy it is to make that mistake and how most people just don’t really care–it buzzes, it’s yellow and black, it’s a “bee”–it still drives me crazy because I feel that the poor bees are getting a bad rep!

“You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside…. You don’t have to put your hand on Mary’s heart to get strength and consolation and resuce, and all the other things we need to get through life,” she said. “You can place it right here on your own heart. Your own heart.

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