Leah's Reviews > The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
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Jun 06, 07

bookshelves: fiction
Read in June, 2007

Though The Secret Life of Bees has the potential to be a heartwarming little novel, it falls flat on many accounts. The characters often feel unoriginal, including a sassy black nanny; a smart, yet under-valued girl who dreams of being a writer; and a roughneck southern farmer. While cliches exist because of a bit of truth in them, I found nothing truthful in the majority of these characters, whose actions,including the two main inciting incidents of the novel, seem completed unmovitated and out of character.

The author's voice is ungainly and often uneven, with the narrator sounding at various times 9, 14, and 45 (turns out she's narrating from her 1-year old perspective). The timeline and pacing of the novel suffers similarly. I often felt I was led to believe that several months or at least weeks had passed when the narrator mentioned it had been 3 or 4 days.

While the small details of beekeeping and the black Madonna keep the book from being totally a flop, it would have benefitted from a better narrative point of view: having it being told in the moment or from a further distance than 3 months past. All in all, a middling work.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Wendy Blair I will have to disagree with you. The characters are so very life like. I know people similar to them in my own life. And it may be a little unoriginal, but that's just due to what the topic is.


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