The Secret Life of Bees made me smile, laugh, gasp and tense up. I listened to this one every day in my car on my way to work and it made the day start out great and end well. The narrator for Lily was spot on to what I would imagine her to be. The voice was very believable and made me really believe I was right there in the story.
Lily is a great character. She is that naive child that lives in a world that we all wish really existed. In the time of the civil rights movement, Lily doesn't see the difference in skin color as the adults around her do. I found it refreshing that she knew there was a difference, but treated everyone as equal human beings. She described those around her with such detail it was easy to imagine them. Seeing the world through a teenagers eyes for this book was incredible. Lily had a good eye and a good heart for those people she could trust. After growing up with a father that didn't really want her and was left to raise her alone after her mother's death, Lily didn't have much of a life of a happy child.
Running away and finding the honey house was thrilling to read about. The life lessons she learned, the skills she gained and the love she felt for the first time in her life warmed me. She found stand-in mothers that showed her more love than her own mother had and that her father couldn't. Learning about bee-keeping was also interesting. It's not something I would normally read about, but the lessons that Lily learned were comparable to her own life in so many ways. I loved the way the bees lives and her life were similar is some aspects.
The ending actually surprised me, and I was glad for that. I was expecting something completely different, but was pleasantly surprised.
I have borrowed the movie, so I plan to watch it in the next couple of weeks to see how it compares.