The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd, is a story about the power of women and their ability to overcome, growing up and love. The protagonist, Lily Owens, lives in South Carolina with her widowed father T. Ray. When Lily was four, her mother died somehow, T. Ray blames her death on Lily. All Lily wants is her mother and to be away from her abusive dad. She is raised by an African – American nanny named Rosaleen. The day the Civil Rights Act is passed, Rosaleen decided to go exercise her newly acclaimed right to vote and is thrown in jail by some racist men in town. Lily wants to save her nanny as well as get away from T. Ray, so she helps break out Rosaleen and they head across South Carolina in search of something better. They are headed for Tiburon because Lily once found a picture of a black Virgin Mary with Tiburon, South Carolina written on the back. They begin living with three black sisters who are beekeepers who worship the “Black Madonna”. Lily learns that her mom had stayed with the three beekeepers after she left Lily with her father. She goes through stages of anger, grief and heartache. Ultimately, the sisters and Rosaleen pull her through and she comes to terms with her mother leaving. One day, T. Ray comes to get Lily, but when she tells him about her mother living with the ladies he gets upset and Lily realizes he dearly loved his mother. She also realizes that her being around him just reminds him of Lily’s mother and makes it hard on him, so he agrees to let her live with the sisters. In the end, Lily enrolls in school in Tiburon and she is content. Lily learns that she can find happiness in the most unexpected places. She would never have guessed that she would want to live with three African – American sisters and be perfectly happy with them. She grows to love each of them and fits in.
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