It’s been one of those months – you know the sort – where you’ve got a job to finish and it takes up all you time and all your energy and all the room you have in your head. But I’ve finally got through it (mostly) and I can now tick off a job I’ve been meaning to do since before Christmas.
I wanted to share with you my thoughts on Sue Monk Kidd’s Secret Life of Bees. I remember trying to read it when it first became available and not being able to. A friend then loaned me her copy last year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Anyway, I wrote some notes in my journal last December and I’ve finally found the energy to type them up. If you’ve read the book please share your thoughts in the comments.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
From my Journal Friday 5th December 2014
I have been wondering what it is about this book that has kept me reading to (almost) the end. Riffling through the pages last night I thought, “I could really stop now [50 pages to go] and I already have in my possession what it is that this book offers.” Why was I thinking this? Why did I keep reading?
So I slept on those thoughts and this morning I have my answer. There is certainly violence and hate and loss and death within the pages. But unlike most books, particularly genre fiction, which use these to overtly propel their stories forward (there is no plot without conflict we are told), Secret Life of Bees uses something else, and it is that something that I’ve been looking for in books for a long time. The core of this book, the thing that moves these characters to act and grow is love. While the horrors of life are happening to the characters, Kidd does not elevate the events to centre stage and have us weeping and wailing and biting our nails wondering what disaster will happen next. Instead, these events happen, like a train stopping at a country station, then quietly pulling away again. I believe she is showing us what a family full of love can do for us – it can quietly and gently enfold us and draw us away from the horrors which happen to us all.
Sure there’s a place for escapist stories and perhaps all stories are escapist in the end. But, it has been and absolute joy to have the motivating emotions loving and joyful rather than dark and frightening or even worrying. Like the bees themselves we do what we have to in this life and when we have a hive to return to, one that is so nurtured that it is full and overflowing with sweetness, then we have the strength to continue.
PS Please don’t ruin the book with lesson plans!
End of Journal entry
You thoughts about the book? Do you think you might give it a go?