The Secret Life of Bees

Sue Monk Kidd

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“The tale of one motherless daughter’s discovery of what family really means- and of the strange and wondrous places we find love.” ~ The Washington Post


"And when you get down to it, Lily, that is the only purpose grand enough for a human life. Not just to love but to persist in love." ~ August

“Love is the only purpose grand enough for a human life. Not just to love- but to persist in love.” ~ August, pg 289

“The hardest thing on earth is choosing what matters.” ~ August, pg 147

“When it’s time to die, go ahead and die, and when it’s time to live, live. Don’t sort-of-maybe live, but live like you’re going all out, like you’re not afraid.” ~ May and August, pg 211

"You gotta imagine what's never been." ~ Zach

"We can't think of changing our skin color. Change the world - that's how we gotta think." ~ Zach

"What I mean is that the bees weren't really singing the words from Luke but still if you have the right kind of years you can listen to a hive and hit the Christmas story somewhere inside yourself." ~ Lily

"You can hear silent things on the other side of the everyday world that nobody else can." ~ Lily

The Honey Song

"Place a beehive on my grave
And let the honey soak through.
When I'm dead and gone,
That's what I want from you.
The streets of heaven are gold and sunny,
But I'll stick with my plot and a pot of honey.
Place a beehive on my grave
And let the honey soak through."

Praise for The Secret Life of Bees

“A dazzling fictional debut….The Secret Life of Bees is storytelling at its finest and the end result is something quite extraordinary.”
—Bookpage Magazine

“Inspiring. Sue Monk Kidd is a direct literary descendent of Carson McCullers.”
—The Baltimore Sun

“The stunning metaphors and realistic characters… (of) this sweeping debut novel are so poignant that they will bring tears to your eyes.”
—Library Journal

“ A radiant first novel.”
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Maybe it’s true that there are no perfect books, but I closed this one believing that I had found perfection.”
—Book Magazine

“A truly original Southern voice.”
—Anita Shreve

“Populated with rich, believable characters and propelled by a swiftly paced plot, this debut novel is a cut above most coming-of-age tales. You’ll be glad you went along for the ride.”
—People Magazine

“Charming, funny, moving.”
—The London Times

“The core of this story is Lily’s search for a mother, and she finds one in a place she never expected. She finds her Madonna in a woman named August Boatwright, the proprietor of a honey farm that’s a harbor of quiet civility. August and her sisters, June and May, are no mere vehicles for Lily’s salvation; they are individuals as fully imagined as the sweltering, kudzu-carpeted landscape that surrounds them.”
—New York Times Book Review

“You’ll want to tear through the pages. Restrain yourself. The beautiful language and seamless unfolding of this well-written story deserve more. (It) merits sweet time and savoring.”
—Southern Living

“A triumphant coming-of-age novel that speaks to the universal need for love.”
—New Orleans Times-Picayune

“I am amazed that this moving, original, and accomplished book is a first novel. It is wonderfully written, powerful, poignant, and humorous.”
—Joanna Trollope

“A hive’s worth of appealing female characters, an off-beat plot and a lovely style… Deeply satisfying.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A moving first novel… Lily is an authentic and winning character and her story is compellingly told.”
—USA Today

“An absolute joy to read.”
—Time Out New York

Sue Monk Kidd has written a wonderful novel about mothers and daughters and the transcendent power of love, all the while masterfully illuminating the feminine face of God.”
—Connie May Fowler

“Incredibly original and imaginative.”
—Glasgow Evening Times

“Lovely writing and kind, vivid characters….Kidd dips a honeyed ladle into lessons of inequality, empowerment, and the healing nature of love and forgiveness.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“Riveting. One of the most inventive books I have read in long time, and utterly compelling. This book demands to be read and read again.”
—The Oxford Times

“A charmer… Richly descriptive and enthralling.”
—The Globe and Mail

“Sue Monk Kidd is an extraordinary storyteller… Beautifully written.”
—Ursula Hegi

“A warm debut. An uplifting story.”

“What a splendid novel! It’s wonderfully thoughtful and sensitive and compulsively readable.”
—Susan Isaacs

—Woman and Home, England

“A rich, lovely novel, brimming with energy and humor and hope. Its women will surely prominent places among the heroines of Southern fiction.”
—Josephine Humphreys

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Statistics and Interesting Facts

  • Over 3.5 million copies of The Secret Life of Bees have been sold.

  • The novel remained listed on the New York Times bestseller list for over eighty weeks.

  • The book has been published in more than 20 languages.

  • In 2004, it was awarded the Book Sense Paperback book of the Year.

  • In England, it was nominated for the Orange Prize.

  • It chosen to be featured on the Good Morning America’s Read This! Book Club.
Created by Robin Miller