There is only a small handful of books that I would call my absolute favorites, books that I have read several times because I enjoyed them so much. One of those books in that group is The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd.
It is not a complicated story. A motherless fourteen year old white girl named Lily runs away from her abusive father and takes refuge in the home of three African-American sisters. The oldest sister, August, keeps bees and sells their honey under the label of The Black Madonna. Lily learns the art of bee-keeping while healing from her deep psychic wounds.
One critical reviewer at Goodreads wrote that the novel is riddled with cliches. Maybe. But what keeps drawing me back to the story, the reason why I have worn out my hard copy and now have it on my e-reader, is that it glows with vibrant themes such as empowerment, personal strength, healing, the divine feminine, and most especially the survival of love in a hate-filled world.
My favorite line is when August says to Lily, “Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.”