Bailey's/Orange Women's Fiction Group discussion

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2015 Book of the Month > December 2015 The Secret Life of Bees

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message 2: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I'll be starting this one probably today or tomorrow.


message 3: by Val (new)

Val I am away for much of December and unlikely to get online. It is a bit early to post discussion questions at the moment, but I will when I get back if you haven't already discussed everything. I have read the book and enjoyed it very much.


message 4: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Anton | 7 comments I actually started this over Thanksgiving weekend and have difficulty putting it down. Those who have read The Help will find The Secret Life of Bees an interesting "compare and contrast"


message 5: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I agree, it's very good right from the start. I also agree that those who liked The Help will like this one as well.


message 6: by Tasha (new)

Tasha I finished this a few days ago. I really enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars. It didn't feel as emotionally strong to me as The Help but I thought it was a good read. I thought the ending was wonderful and heart-warming.


message 7: by Val (new)

Val I didn't like "The Help" as much as this one, but I can see similarities and it ties in with a discussion area.

Mother figures.
Lily thinks about her mother Deborah a lot, but who is / are the mother figure(s) in the book and how?

Do you see this as a major theme of the book?

What did you think of Deborah's behaviour?

Is skin colour relevant here in the same way it is in "The Help"?
(It is obviously very relevant in voting and education.)


message 8: by Maggie (new)

Maggie Anton | 7 comments Val wrote: "I didn't like "The Help" as much as this one, but I can see similarities and it ties in with a discussion area.
What did you think of Deborah's behaviour?
Is skin colour relevant here in the same way it is in "The Help"?
(It is obviously very relevant in voting and education.)"


As a mother and grandmother, I couldn't understand or accept Deborah running off without her young daughter, essentially leaving the little girl in the hands of her abuser. I know this was necessary for the plot, but it shouldn't have been difficult for Deborah to take Lily with her.

Skin color was certainly relevant, especially in the relationship between Lily and Zach [although I found it quite unrealistic that she could ignore the potential dangers]


message 9: by Val (new)

Val I was thinking of the various coloured women more as caring or mother figures, in the way some of them are in "The Help", but we will broaden the discussion of colour. (It was going to be the next theme for discussion.)

Here are some areas which you might consider in the context:
Relationships (Lily and Zach)
Voter rights (Roseleen)
Independence, running a business (Boatwright sisters)
Religion (the 'Black Madonna' and the women's group)
Access to education (Zach)
Justice and lack of (mainly Rosaleen)


message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Haider (jessicahaider) | 155 comments Mod
I read Secret Life of Bees a few years ago as part of a "real life" book club. We all enjoyed it. Though a few years later, the plotlines of The Help and Secret Life of Bees get a bit mixed up in my mind.

One of my book club members who is very involved in social/diversity activism, found The Help and Secret Life of Bees to be problematic in that they use tropes that gloss over the reality of the Civil Rights Era. Here's one sample write up on the subject: ://the-artifice.com/civil-rights-era-film-tr...


message 11: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 49 comments Jessica wrote: "I read Secret Life of Bees a few years ago as part of a "real life" book club. We all enjoyed it. Though a few years later, the plotlines of The Help and Secret Life of Bees get a bit mixed up in m..."

Hi, Jessica- can you retype the link? I would be interested in reading the article you mentioned.


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