Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Secret Life of Bees

Spud's internet connection has been a little temperamental recently, and refused to work at all today. At least up until now. I just wanted to authorise any further absences and let y'all know I'm still alive. I also need to inform you that I will be absent all next week because I will be away on holiday. Spud and I are driving six hours northward to a very beautiful part of England. I'll tell you more about it when I return, complete with holiday snaps. 

I've spent the last 48 hours applying for jobs and reading The Secret Life of Bees which I will now review.

Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees is a real page-turner, and a book I could hardly put down. The novel follows the life of fourteen year old Lily, who lives on a farm in South Carolina with her abusive father, and surrogate mother, a black servant called Rosaleen. After a run in with the law, Lily and Rosaleen take to flight, and are welcomed into the home of three black women: May, June and August. But Lily's bright new life is shadowed by her earliest memory, a dark secret that she has harboured for all her conscious life...

The book was a lot better than the film, which I watched before I read the book (not a usual habit of mine). While the film stays fairly true to the book, I think one of its failures is the loss of Lily's narrative voice. Lily's narrative is compelling and one of the attractions of the novel. It made her a believable character, and I warmed to her instantly. I loved the descriptions, and the abundant imagery in the novel. I particularly liked the lines:

Sunset is the saddest light there is. We rode a long time in the glow of it, everything silent except for the crickets and the frogs who were revving up for twilight, I stared through the windshield as the burned lights took over the sky.

I would like to thank Anna for her recommendation. The Secret Life of Bees was a novel I thoroughly enjoyed, and I think you will too!

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