Dependent Origination

The Secret Life of Bees

Posted on: September 29, 2008

11/11/2007

This book had potential. It began with promise. I was actually amazed by her beautiful writing at first. However, Sue Monk Kidd did not maintain a consistent style of writing and did not build up her characters convincingly either. As a result, the middle part, where Lily stayed in August’s house and handed out lies after lies, dragged and probably lost three quaters of her audience there. The ending was nice but came too quick and took readers (read : me) by surprise. It feels that the middle part of the story could use more plot twists and prepare the readers more or simply be shorter.
I love everything about the deep south. In particular, I love honey and would like to know more about it, including the animals that are working so hard to make it. I am disappointed that the book does not give as much information on a beekeeper’s life as I would like to hear. I am sure there are much to learn and much to nourish a novel of this magnitude but am afraid either the background research is not done thoroughly or the materials are not used wisely.
I don’t really like the character of Lily. She lied too much and her lies sounded so good that it is hard to believe they are created on the fly. I like the character Rosaleen but it seems like she is like Scarlet’s nanny except she loves snuff and spits a lot. After they stepped inside August’s house, Rosaleen seems disappeared from the story and never made any contributions to the character or plot development. If I had a chance to choose, Rosaleen and the interactions between Lily and her, such as her reaction to Lily’s realization that Rosaleen should be her real mom, deserve more words and paragraphs.
The moral of the story is on the cheesier side of the literary world. I love reading stories with underlying currents about positive feelings, however, I don’t like it being pushed to me too hard. Or after a certain age and after a certain number of books, I would like the message be more subtle and the conclusion more thought provoking.
Anyway this is my fiction-reading burst and I am going to stick to a couple more bestsellers until the urge dies down.

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