The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

I am going to assume most of you have read the novel.  A New York Times besteller, The Secret Life of Bees was the book for several years. Much reviewed, much read, much loved….I didn’t really like it. What can I say?

For those of you who haven’t read it, hi guys.

The story follows young Lily Owens who runs away from home in the company of her long time nanny Rosaleen. Lily is in search of the truth about her mother, who was killed in a horrible shotgun accident, and Rosaleen is on the run from the law after being arrested for disturbing the peace by trying to register to vote in South
Carolina of 1964. The two make it to nearby Tiburon where they find three sisters: May, June and August, who make Black Madonna Honey and might hold the key to Lily’s past and know the reason why Lily’s mother left her with her abusive father.

I’ve deleted several attempts at another paragraph, they all came out far too snarky to ever see the light of day. So instead, I’m going to let those who liked the book more than I did speak for it.

You can find a very positive review at: A Stripped Armchair , a mostly positive reveiw at: Between the Covers and a fairly positive review at: A Commonplace Book.


I first published this snippet trying to pass itself off as a review on my old blog Ready When You Are, C.B.  It’s kind of embarrassing, looking at it now. I should have gone for the snark!  Lately, I’ve been seeing a blip in the number of book bloggers wondering how they should deal with a book they didn’t like.  They should say so.  We should say so.  We should say why and we should be snarky if we’re feeling snarky.  There’s this idea that we should be constructive in our criticism.  I disagree. We should be honest, be ourselves, treat the book as we would if we were talking to a group of real people.  

It’s been years since I read The Secret Life of Bees–I’ve no memory of the book at all at this point. I wish I’d said more in this review. It would be nice to know what I really thought.

4 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

  1. One of my book groups read this. I didn’t – I think I got through the first chapter, and I think I skimmed a bit further, to have something to say in the discussion. I wonder if we’d either of us like the film version better?

  2. It sure is tempting sometimes to be snarky! Actually I know there is at least one blogger who started a second, anonymous blog, to run snark reviews!

    1. Why does this have to be anonymous? Gore Vidal, Dorothy Parker, many others ran bad reviews, often full of delightful snark, and signed their names and reputations to them. Parker’s reviews of A.A. Milne and James Barrie are wonderful fun. When did we become a people who can neither take a bad review nor bear to give one?

      1. I *think* the problem is that publishers don’t like it, and the perception is that it will affect one’s ability to get “free” books. So I suppose it depends on how important that particular “perk” is to (one). I have heard it observed that even if one just posts a “negative” review, without any snark, one may never hear from the publisher again who sent the book.

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