The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Well, normally I write up a little review of the book, but since I know that this entry is primarily for those of you who are reading “The Secret Life of Bees” for a freshman honors’ requirement, maybe I can try a different tactic. As I don’t have to convince you to read the book (you are reading anyway), let me just mention that there’s a nice little summary of the book at the end under the title “Introduction to ‘The Secret Life of Bees.’” It’s much like what I would have to say in summary. There are also questions meant for a discussion group and you might want to ask and answer one of those here. So far I’ve noticed that the comments from incoming freshmen on summer reading have a great deal to do with whether you can relate to the character—put yourself in his or her mindset—and that’s important because the author has probably failed if you can’t. However, as you engage in the honors program in high school, you’re going to find that you’ll be asked for analysis of the books you read, and that requires deeper thought. Answering some of the discussion questions such as “Who is the queen bee in this story?” will be a good start on your analytical journey.
I first read “The Secret Life of Bees” when it came out. I was thinking that was a couple of years ago, but times flies, as they say, and it has been more like six years. So I needed to reread the entire book rather than take a quick glance. And although I think that this is a good book—and a perfect choice for ninth grade summer reading—I don’t think it’s a great book. The same things bothered me on the second reading as bothered me on the first. The story sewed up too neatly. I got a bit tired of the quotes about the lives of bees and then seeing how Lily’s life and the lives of those around her matched the bees. I also got tired of being knocked over the head with the ‘deep’ spiritual and emotional lives of the bee women and Lily’s connection to the power of all that earth mothering. It was just too heavy-handed for me.
I’ve always felt that the best discussion centered on this book would be a comparison to Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Unfortunately, I doubt that any of you have read that book—and now that reading it is out of fashion (not very PC), you probably won’t read it in eleventh grade as students did at one time. But “The Secret Life of Bees,” either purposefully or on an unconscious level, is modeled after “Huck Finn” and I don’t doubt that some PhD candidate is writing about this at this very moment.
If you do get the chance to select a great work of American fiction and are asked to compare it to something contemporary, picking” HF” and “TSLoB” would be a blast. Lily and Rosaleen could be compared to Huck and Jim. Jim, the Black outcast (slave) on the run from a Southern society that takes away his human rights. Huck, the motherless child of a horrific father who physically and emotionally abuses him. Their dependence on one another to escape. Huck’s fluid lying to help himself and Jim. Jim’s need, even as the adult, to depend on Huck because the society gives more value to the child than the man who is black. Jim as a surrogate father and his love for Huck.
Obviously, I think that “HF” is a much better book—this is because the characters are more real to me; they are more deeply flawed. Huck helps Jim in the same way that Lily helps Rosaleen, but because of his upbringing in a racist society, he doubts that he is doing the right thing and believes he’ll go to hell for it. This is ironic, and irony abounds in the novel. It’s what could have made “TSLoB” great, too, but it’s missing.
As just a little sidebar, let me talk about the discussion question “Have you ever heard of ‘kneeling on grits?’” I was thinking as I read the book that, being Southern California kids, you may not even know what grits are. It’s grain (usually corn–hominy) that’s only coarsely ground. When boiled, it makes a sort of cereal. But when it’s still dry, it’s sharp and rock hard. I’ve only ever known one person who as a child was punished by kneeling, not on grits, but on split peas. The result was that when she grew up, she moved away from her parents and would NEVER allow them to see their grandchildren. I think that gives us a pretty good idea of the harshness of such a punishment.
Another of the discussion questions asks you to project into the future. I kept thinking about Rosaleen voting. The book ends on a happy note with Rosaleen registering, but at that time, and in that place, trying to vote might have cost her her life.
A penny for your thoughts.
Borders (the bookstore) is doing some promotional stuff that you might be interested in if you have chosen to read the novel for Frosh Honors.
Excerpt from the book:
Super quick interview with the author (Sue Monk Kidd) on making the book into a movie:
Video clip of the upcoming movie:
I did read the Bee quotes, and while i understood them, I didn’t quite get how all of them tied in with the theme. Will these be a major discussion in class?
I enjoyed The Secret Life of Bees very much. In a sense the story was very sweet, and yet still faced some very controversial topics. Lily defied the prejudices of racism by living with colored women and falling in love with a black man. She realizes and comes to terms with yes, she did kill her mother, but the guilt shouldn’t all lay on her. I enjoyed how the bees played a big part in the story as symbols as well as a way of expressing opinions. The bond between Lily and August showed, as well as the love Lily felt for Rosaleen. Although it took time, Lily was accepted and comfortable in her surroundings, and this made it easier for her to accept love from the Boatwright Sisters.
I loved how Lilly just fell in love with Zach no matter what skin tone he was 🙂 I agree with Myra .A such a cute story ❤ .
one thing i didnt understand was , why were there little bee quotes at the top of the chapters ? I read them but didnt understand why they were there ? Anyone know ?
”SINCERELY IT HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ OF THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES. TRULY INSPIRED AND IRRESISITIBLY CUTE IIN AN INNOCENT LOVE.”
I TOTALLY AGREE WITH JACKIE AND KIM IT WAS BY FAR THE CUTES THING.!♥
I though it was a really good book! It gave so much detail to plenty of things. It shows how very different things were back then compared to now. The racism was a very big topic in the book! But the love Lily had for Zach was just so sweet! I agree with Kim L. with what she said! It was by far the cutest thing!
Lily and Zach had something special no one had at the time because of all the racial remarks and seperation between white and black. I agree with Mayra J.A. it was innocent love and I just wanted the ending of the book to go on and see if they get married or if Zach really does become a lawyer…<3
Oh, I know, right?!
I think they would have gotten married. The author made them seem irresistible. And about Zach being a lawyer: I SP THINK HE PROBABLY DID!! Zach seemed really determined about it, and without a doubt, I think he probably fought to go to law school!
The author put that in their in order for you to get a better mental picture and for you to really see what was going on!
I have a complaint about the book though. Some of the parts of the book were “very descriptive”. For example when Lilly was slleping naked, and when Lilly and Rosaleen went skinny dipping, and other parts like that.
That’s what made it better! If she wasn’t descriptive, we probably wouldn’t have related to her.
Lily is just a girl who is trying to find out about her mom that’s why she goes through all that trouble of escaping to Tiburon, and beacause she wants to finally get free of T.Ray
i like it that i was able to learn a little from the book. For exapmle, i learned some information on bees, on how they got honey and what their different jobs were, and how the bee keepers kept maintainment over the bees. i also how bad the rascim betwwen “blacks” and “whites” was back then. Also i learned that no matter your race, or religion, or traditions were, you can still get along well with one another.
I have to give props to Zach cause even though it was not him that through the bottle at the white guy, but his friend. He still chose not to rat him out and to still let the police take him to jail.
I also have to give some props to Rosaleen for being bold enough to spit on the three white guys, even though it was a wrong choice, that caused her to get beat.
And i also that it was brave of Lilly to run away from her house and rescue Rosaleen from the hospital and go somewhere that she read on the back of a picture.
Even though girls mostly are the ones that read the Secret life of Bees, i have to admit that the story was not that bad, it was ok. I learned different things from the book. for example, i learned that back then, a punishment was to make children kneel on grits for a long period of time. I liked it that Lilly was “white” and Rosaleen was “african-american” they still loved each other, and cared for each other. I’m also curious of how even though August had a feeling that Lilly was Deborah’s daughter, how would she let her stay with her for a “couple days” just by Lilly asking her too.
I have to agree with Amy. Even though Lilly was “white” and she was living with “african-americans” they got along well with each other, even though they may of had some disagreements. Also in the end of the book, they chose to love each other and live together no matter their differences.
Oh wow, this book was really AMAZING!!! I really enjoyed it! At first, I thought that this book was going to be boring, but after reading it I totally change my mind!! I would recommend this book to anyone.
I heard we had to read them because we’ll be discussing like, poetic forms like..metaphors, hyperboles, etc.
oh wow. I didn’t know we were supposed to read them.
wait we did have to read them but they were soooo boring
@ Kimberly L.
I agree with you because I also skipped those parts because i thought it was boring. But I think that I am going to go back and read them just in case
Same here i skipped them ALL beacause I also thought they were boring. I think I’m going to go back and read them if i have time.
Were we suppossed to read the little bee quotes at the top of the chapters? One of my friends told me we’d be discussing them in class. And like, I totally skipped all of them when I read the book. I thought they were boring.
oh for real! We were suippose to read the bee quotes on top of each chapter. Well i didnt read them as well.
at Jessica C.L
i meant mrs nicastro lol
how embarrising heheh
lol it’s cool it just confused me 🙂
I just finished this book last week, truly inspiring. I absolutely love the Boatwright sisters, and all of the information on bees. It’s just so amazing how all of the books I’ve read can go along with this book too.
@ Cassie A.W.
I think that the general store owner gave Lily the address beacuse he saw something in Lily like as if it was really important for her to visit August and that she was determined to do it and plus he probably thought, ” What harm is going to be done by her going there?”
ya but if she was like an asasin or somthen would you really like it if someone just gave away your address to just anyone
This was a fantastic book! i really enjoyed it! It is probably my favorite book. But, i have a question about why the general store owner would have given out somebody’s address if he never even met Lily before?
Because she lied and said she was the granddaughter. He believed her and it out. That, or he was just super friendly.
He could have given out August’s address because maybe he was thinking what harm would it do to send a girl to her house at her age. Its not like she was threatening August she was just a little girl who wanted to find out information about her mother
Why did T. Ray go psycho when he came to get Lily?
Because he remembered Deborah leaving him and he didn’t want Lily to do the same.
I felt T. Ray did a remarkable job letting Lily go just like Deborah. However, hurting Lily was a very irrational thing for him to do and I felt that T. Ray leaving her was the best thing that ever happened to Lily.
ya I agree with Kimberly he saw the same thing happening with Lily that happened with Deborah and he went well crazy
@ Katrina C.
I think he went psycho because Lily ran away from him just like her mom had done. He was angry with her because she reminded him so much of her mom and so when he saw her he just blew up in her face.
@ Katrina C.
I think the reason why T-Ray went “psycho” is because Lily disobeyed his command, and totally disregarded him.
That is probably one of the reasons, but i agree with Corie and Sydney on this. Remember that T-Ray loved Deborah and Lily looked just like her. He, at one point, thought he was talking to Deborah and he didn’t want her to leave him again like she did before.
Yes. I agree with Priscila, he probably was upset with her leaving him but he also did have a hidden love for Lily and Deborah and thats why he was so hard on Lily because he didnt want her to leave just like Deborah did. While T-Ray was getting so mad, he had a flashback and thought he was talking to Deborah and he just let out his anger that he had been holding in.
T. Ray went psycho because Lily reminded him of Deborah and in his mind it triggered a flash back when Deborah was leaving him. T. Ray didn’t want to lose Lily which was why he was being so aggresive and mean (besides the point that she had ran away).
I loved how much Lily loved Zack. She really showed the reader how important he was to her. I thought Lily just wanted to grab a brown magic marker and be with Zack forever. And the way that Lily loved all the little things about him was soooo cute! The way his tounge was green after popsicles, how he smiled, the way he sang and walked around. I loved it! I thought they’d make the cutest pair.
Also when he got thrown in jail, she was constansly worring about how he was. All in all, one of the greastest books I’ve ever read and I’m happy that it’s on my bookshelf
@ Kimberly L.
ya I agree they are so cute together I love how she almost always thought about him and how he deeply cared for her.
I also have to agree that it was an Amazing book and I really got into it
@ Megan K.M. & Kimberly L.
I as well thought Mrs . Kidd did a fantastic choice assighning this book to our summer reading ! 🙂
Do you meen Mrs.Kidd did a good job writing the book
Mrs.Nicastro in assigning the book to us to read
I just finished reading “The Secret Life of Bees” and I thought it was absolutly AMAZING !!!! When I first found out we had to read the book I thought, “ughh a book about bees?what a bore !” But as iI read the book I realized how intresting it was ! I thought about it and I can toatlly relate with Lilly’s positon ! Its amazing how intrested I got into this book because I strongly dislike reading ! . One of the best books I have ever read !
@Sydney K.T, Priscila L.G., Megan K.M
i LOVE that about Lily! She’s so sarcastic and knows how to block the mean comments, even when they do hurt her! And even though she fell in love with a colored boy and thought she belonged with a colored family, she still didn’t care that she was white. To Lily, color didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that they were people that loved each other. And No! Zack was brave, too. It probably took alot to go to an all white school and have people throw things at him. He took everything and didn’t care. He was tough! This story was great and inspirational. I agree with Megan about the “coming of age” point. Lily was SO amazing. Miss Kidd did a great job with this novel.
Great comment Kimberly! yes I also think Miss Kidd did a breat job on this story. I haven’t been able to find a book i liked in so long. I reall6y enjoyed this one. 😉
I found Lily to act very childish throughout the book. Her throwing honey jars, tossing a bucket, and screaming about her mother showed she was a furious young girl who didn’t know how to control her anger. However, she showed her bravery, compassion, and love to a family that had adopted her like one of their own. Lily showed remarkable “coming of age” in this book and I could finally relate to a character that has gone through a lot of rough spots in life. I agree with Kimberly L and Megan K.M, Sue Monk Kidd did an awesome job on The Secret Life of Bees!!
Sorry, Sydney K.T., but I have to disagree..
I didn’t find Lily anywhere NEAR childish. I thought she was just being a typical teenager. She’s fourteen, abused, and living without a mother. Of course she’s gonna rant and cry and scream! She didn’t have a very good lifestyle with T-Ray.She threw the honey jars because she was frustrated with life! We do that too, but a little differently. We’d probably throw a fit or chuck something at the wall if we were angry. She just couldn’t take it anymore. I think what the author tried to do was show the reader a little part of Lily’s personality: She doesn’t hide her emotions. And I think that made the book alot better because you could understand how Lily felt about everything.
@ Sydney K.T.
I see where you can think that Lily is childish. However, I agree with Kimberly L. when she says Lily is not childish. I believe that it was very mature of her to realize that she needed to leave T. Ray, but still go back for Rosaleen. I believe that she worked so hard in her life to survive T. Ray’s punishments and cruelty, and also to find August, that she deserved to have a little bit of time to express her feelings. I mean, think about it, she threw the honey jars because she just found out that her mother ran away from her and T. Ray when she was a little baby. That is worth a meltdown or two.
I totally see how you guys can disagree with me, Alyssa L.M. and Kimberly L. Lily throwing fits and ranting about her mother is what we all do today as a typical teenager, but in our own ways. We all have to show our emotions sometime. I can’t expect Lily to not express her feelings in some manner, I too would be angry over finding out what my mother did. Thanks for the awesome comments 🙂 Did you guys ever figure out what the theme was?
I thought it was really interesting how, in the beginning, Lily would laugh at mean comments her classmates made about African Americans just to fit in. But at the end of the book she’s not ashamed of being seen around Zach even if it means that she gets picked on as well.
I agree with Priscila L.G. It was interesting how Lily changed as a person throughout the book about peoples’ skin color. Living with August, May, and June, Lily changed into someone who went beyond the boundaries of skin color to see who a person really is even though he/she might act different and have different skin colors. Lily even learned to love someone T.Ray would of completely rejected just because of skin color, Zach. Does anybody think Zach made a big mistake going to an all white school?
No, its people like Zach that we need to change the world and its ugly habbits of judging by skin color rather then whats in the inside. It take a lot of bravery to do what Zach and did i give him props for doing so.
Yes Priscila L.G. that was interesting of her to do that i think it was cause she fell in love with Zach and she spent a whole summer with African Americans and they really took her in and cared more for her then any white person back home ever had. I think this was also appart of the theme on “Becoming of Age” Lily is starting to understand life and what she thinks it is and that it doesn’t matter who you are you can always be loved.
Yeeep. Lily did it. At the end of the book T-Ray tells Lily that she did it, even though she never meant it.
Did anyone find out what the theme is for the story? The only thing I came up with was that life is more complicated that it seems.
Life has many secrets. some to share, others to keep.
Thats all I’m getting so far.
I thought the theme was difficult also i got the same message as you Kimberly but I also think Micheal has a good point about the secrets Thanks 🙂
I would think that the theme would be something to do with racism. For example, the way June treated her because she was white and that August had watched over her mother. In the end she decided to accept her for who she really was and be friendly to her.
I think Megan’s opinion could be correct that there may be something deeper that happened with the death of Lily’s mom.
I think Lily realy killed her mom because T. Ray has been mad at her ever since. T. Ray never wanted to forgive her for what she did.
That is a very good point Daniel A.S. But Deborah never was really happy with T Ray and only stayed with him because she was pregnant with Lily. Maybe T Ray knew that Deborah left because of him and he was mad because he was now stuck with Lily.
@ Daniel A.S.
I don’t think T.Ray is mad at Lily because she shot Deborah because if he had any logic, he would have known that she was going to run away again, I think that he is mad because either 1) He wants to forget about Deborah, but he can’t because Lily is a reminder of her that he has to live with every day, or 2) He is lonely and old and doesn’t want to live, or raise Lily, by himself.
In the story does it ever say who really killed Deborah because I’m still not sure if it was T Ray or LIly. Half of me thinks it might have been T Ray blaming it on Lily, and the other half thinks Lily really did kill her mother. What are some of your thoughts? Please help!
Lily did kill Deborah,but she didn’t mean to. When Deborah dropped the gun, Lily picked it up and was planning on giving back to her mother when the gun dischared.
Okay but is there any way that T Ray could have been just saying that and leading her on? EX: When August called to see what happened to Deborah when she didn’t come back the nieghbor who answered the phone had no exact details on what happened the day of the accident…right
Or like when T Ray kept asking Lily if she knew anything else that happened that day to see if she had remembered anything else. Maybe T Ray was trying to see if Lily remembered anything so he could cover it up because Lily was the only witness, but since she was so young T Ray thought that he could have disguised the accident how ever he wanted…
But Lily remembered the gun going off.
But… T Ray could have shot Deborah it didin’t have to be that Lily shot her
I think that Lily really did kill her mother, because she said that she kind of remembers holding the gun and then hearing an explosion. I don’t think that as she had gradually got older she just thought it was her fault, becuase she could have just grown up believing that it was T. Ray. I think that when she shot her mother she had the idea that she did shoot her, but she just didnt want to believe it and she tried to forget. When she got older her memory got blurred and believed again that it was her fualt (which i belive it was).
Did they ever describe June’s wedding?
They just described it in passive. Just a few random facts.
I have a question. Is Lily’s main obstacle finding out if she really did kill her mother or just getting away from T. Ray
I had a hard time finding that out too! I think her main obstacle was just wanting to know if her mother really LEFT her. She knew that she had killed her, but she wanted to know why Deborah had left in the first place.
I think it’s a mix of both.
I think Kimberly is right. I would say that her main obstacle was just figuring out what her mom was all about. She just wanted to know who her mom was. She wanted to know who her mom was before she met T. Ray. She wanted to know if her mom really left her.
never mind. I’m just the person who couldn’t find them. XP
Is it just my computer, or have all ours posts dissappeared?
It doesn’t really say why he leaves her, but I guess he probably got tired of having to deal with Lily and just left her. But that’s what I think.
Bottom of page 242, August says that June didn’t like the idea of August being a maid for Deborah so she takes out her anger in both Deborah and Lily.
No brain fart!
i agree with micael.
The book says she never really got along because she was her maid
Wait, i thought it was because she was white!
There’s a part in the book where Lily hears June talking to August and she says “because she’s white!”
..right? Or am I having a brain fart?
No, your right. She did say that, but I don’t know if thats the reason.
I have a question. Why does T .Ray leave Lily with the Boatwrights instead of taking her with him?
I think he is glad he finally doesn’t have yo worry about her
I think it was more his heart was softening and when he saw she could have a better home he let her stay because he really did care even though he wouldn’t show it
I think T. Ray left Lily with the Boatwrights because he knew she would have a better home there. Should would be around women that would really care for her, love her, and make her happy. I think that he knew that if he took her with him their relationship would not really change and that she would probably run away to the Boatwrights again. I think he knew that either way, staying at the Boatwrights would be the best place for her.
@ Corie N.A.
once June found out she was lying she never knew when Lily was telling the truth.
She had a sort of feud with Lily’s mother because August was a maid in Deborah’s house. June didn’t believe that they should clean strangers houses.
because she was white.
But saddly he didn’t 😦
I believe Jessica is right. Lily just wanted to know if her father knew anything about her life and he didn’t. He didn’t know anything about her not even the simple thing of knowin her favorite color.
My Question is : Why did June not like Lily even after she knew Lily wasn’t lieing.
I think June didn’t like Lily at first because she looked like Deborah and she remembered that August had worked for Deborah’s family for a while. Remember that June did not want to work for white people so I guess she was upset when August worked for Deborah and seeing Lily reminded her of that.
I’m agreeing with Jessica. She just wanted to see if her own father knew at least a few simple things.
My next question is why does Lily call T-Ray after she has already having a better life with the boatwrights?
*She saw those pictures of the guy and his daughter and was wondering if T-Ray even knew her favorite color. obiviously he didn’t and he didn’t care eaither but she wanted to know.
I know. The sad thing is that she got poor help.
lol Kimberly ya it made perfect sence and I understood that part about the policemen not really carring but still you think she would be safe in jail. At least they took her to the hospital.
I don’t know how to answer that. I’ll try my best, though. Remember in history class, how they said that back in the days, they’d let the whites beat on the blacks for no apparent reason? Like, they could be walking on the wrong side of the curb and a white man would come over and totally harass that person. Police wouldn’t care. They could kick them in the mud just for sitting on the bus bench! The police wouldn’t care. It was hard back then and people and (sometimes) government wouldn’t really accept the fact that they were of a different race. It really sucked. In the book, Rosaleen stood up for herself and didn’t back down when she got the beating. The police officer said “that’s enough” when she was almost dead!! I guess Miss Kidd wanted to show readers how really hard it was to be accepted into the world at that time.
I hope that made sense. If not, well, I tried. hahaha.
*I wana know why the policeman just let those guys in to hurt Rosaleen I understand the whole race thing was out of control but I meen to let guys into the jail to hurt someone that just sad
You’re welcome 🙂
ok thanks the only reason I thought he was wite was because of pg. 116 it said, oh wait I just read over it again they were talking Lily being white ok now I get it thank you
No, he’s black.
ya i gues I agree but Im still confused was zach white or not?
Nothing would have made anything better between Lily and T-Ray. He saw Debroah in her. The abuse would continue. Te only thing to resolve the hurt was for Lily to leave.
*I agree with Kimberly L. she needed a break and if she did stay the abuse would just get worse and plus Rosaleen would have probably died.
*But I have to wonder if She hadn’t run away would May still be alive and would things have gotten better between Lily and T-Ray
YES! In my opinion, if Lily had not run away from T-Ray, she would never have expierenced what it’s like to be loved, fall in love with a boy of a different race, and to become so independent and strong. She did the right thing. If she didn’t run away, things would have gone out of hand with T-Ray’s abuse.
In response to Kaitlyn R.C.
I believe the only way to T-Ray get the right to treat Lily so bad is the fact that he is her father.
My first Question is, was it a good choice for Lily to run away?
*I also have to agree with Kaitlyn R.C because just because he was angry at his wife,daughter, and sorta himself probably he still didn’t have the right to punish her for no reason
*Oh and I didn’t think you had to read the little quotes above each chapter they seemed really boring
* I have a question though I got confused about Zach, because I thought Lily said he was white but over and over I got the impression he wasn’t
*I didn’t read all the reply’s but from what I could tell everyone enjoyed this book abit:).
*I really liked how descriptive the author was like when May died. And how she described the characters to make them real. Even though I saw no real point in the part were she was bathing in the pond or using the bathroom it was all around a good book.
Oh! And another answer to Kaitlyn R.C’s question:
Because he’s her dad. He has the right, even though its wrong.
@Corie N.A and Kaitlyn R.C
Although I agree with Corie, I also think something different. T-Ray had been abusive to Debroah. When she was shot, he was still angry that she tried to leave him, but he still mourned of her death. I guess his emotions got him mixed up and only took up in anger. Obviously he sees his wife in his daughter. Looks and personality. He was scared of losing her, too. It got him mad. The only way he could show how he felt was just to hit his daughter. Even when she didn’t deserve it. So..I guess you could say he hits his daughter and tels her mean things because he’s afraid to show how he feels.
Regarding Kaitlyn R.C question,” How does T.Ray get the right to treat Lily so badly?”
I believe its because when her mother, Deborah, left him and Lily he was upset. T.Ray changed and treated Lily so bad because she reminded her so much of her mother. He saw Deborah in Lily and I believe he showes his love through treating her bad because she had left her and he turly loved her. He now turly loves Lily is just afraid to say it.
My first question, how does T.Ray get the right to treat Lily so badly?
In Response to Charisse M.S., If I was Lily, despite the fact that it was a time of racism, I definitely would have tried to save Rosaleen from jail; she was the one who took care of Lily when her mom died, she was like a mother her, even though she didn’t see her as a mother because of the color of her skin. I don’t think that I’d be able to watch someone that important to me, rot in jail, so I would have tried to save her hands down.
If Zach didn’t go to jail,do you think that May would still be alive?
*To Bianca C.N. question: “If Zach didn’t go to jail,do you think that May would still be alive?”
*Ya I think she would at least for awile but I think Eventully somthing would snapp and she would kill herself anyway
I think she would’ve died eventually because of all her grief and worry.
So far, out of all the books I was assigned to read, this is my favorite! The romantic moments in this novel made it all the better.
In Response to Robert L.S., I think that in the beginning of the book Lily was very miserable bacause she didn’t have a mother; listening to all the girls talk about thier mothers in school probably made her feel really lonely knowing that shse could never relate to them in that way. A mother is very important in a girls life, especially when girls need advice or help.
To Tasnuva H.:
I LOVE romantic books. As soon as something cute or sweet happens, I am like “YES!!!”. I get so mad when the main character doesn’t do what you want them to. It can be so frustrating sometimes!
To zach r d:
I am with you 100%!! As soon as something happened, I would have taken a legal stand against T. Ray.
I think this book really showed the concept of happiness will find those who need it in the smallest of places.
I love how the author made deborah a main character although she was gone. That is really powerful I think.
i think that it is sad the abuse she takes and i would have done something long before she did
I am a hopeless romantic, so I really liked the cute parts between Zach and Lliy. I was also really happy when June finally married Neil.
I actually enjoyed this book. The first paragraph, I was like “What? It’s actually about bees?” However, this book started getting to me as I read along. It was written very well.
I agree with Martin D.A. I thought it was boring at first, but it got interesting along the way. I think August’s character is someone who would be willing to help out others in need. Plus, she also recognized how Lily looked a lot like Deborah. That’s another reason why August was welcoming.
In response to Eduardo V., I think I would not have the strength to stand up to T. Ray because the way he treats Lily frightens me just by reading it. For example, whenever Lily hears T. Ray coming, she gets scared and thinks she is doing something wrong. That’s pretty sad 😦
ya I have to agree it is really sad the poor girl has so much fear
Another question I have about this book is how did Lily’s mom end up finding August and her sisters on her honey farm?
My first question about this book is why doesn’t she feel that she can call T. Ray her dad?
In response to Alejandra M.M.
I think that Rosaleen does act like a mother and helps take care of Lily but maybe Lily feels that if she sees Rosaleen as a mom then she will end up hurting her too,
In response to Eduardo V. I dont think I would have ever been able to stand up to T.Ray I think I woud be terrified of him.
In response to Morgan C.L.G.
I think that Lily knows that Zach was beaten because of his race and that being with him would cause him more harm than good.
I agree with Olivia D. because I thought Lilly was a girl of strength and courage but as Olivia said she also has her weakness.
If I were Lilly I think I would have tried to save Rosaleen also because Rosaleen was always there for her.
I think Lilly must have had a lot of courage and strength to have to deal with her father abusing her and then running away to find out about her mother.
I would so run away too i mean if my daddy treated me like that i would pop him in the face real quickand than runaway
Where did he ever get the name of martha whites for a punishmenth hes kind of weird who would think of that
I agree with you craig if she wouldnt have left or pulled that gun none of this would have happened. not saying that its all her falt but most of it was
i thought this book was really good way better than i thought it would be
In response to Kevin A.A.’s question i think he left her there because he knew living there was better for her, which showed that he really did love her.
In response to Raven M.W. i think i would run away from home if reasoning didn’t work with him.
I think Lily’s father was just hurt from his wife leaving him thats why he is always mad and frustrated. If Lily’s mother hadn’t left him i think he would be a much happier person.
I agree to Andrew Mousaw, this book is a true reality that someone might have gone through. How the events flow in a perfect harmony yet they are real with what is going on at the time.Things like racism and hatred, people getting beat up just for going to register to vote. Also, Lilly struggles with her past and her father.
I think it was brave of Lily’s mother to mary someone she didn’t love to support her daughter.
A response to Eduardo V.:
If I had a father like T.Ray I would definitely find the courage to stand up to him. I would not sit and just let him physically and emotionally abuse me.
In response to Raven M.W.
I would run away from home too
because it wasn’t a safe environment what T. Ray was doing to her (Lily)
Another thing that goes through my mind is: Will Lilly and Zach stay friends or will they have a life together in the future.This I wonder because what they shared was pure and true.
In respont to Nicole E.A.
I dont think i would try to save a family memeber because i wouldnt want to get caught or get in trouble
A response to Raven M.W.:
If I had a father like T.Ray, I think that it would result for me to run away from him. That would only be if I had a safe place to go to where he would never find me and I could carry on living a normal teenage life.
I really loved the end of the story when Lilly found love from two people.
I thought this book was well written and i liked it alot, but the only sad thing about it was lilly and tray’s relationship.
This is my favorite one of the three books. A question that still lingers in my mind is one like: Why did T.Ray just let Lilly go just like that, through the troubles he went through to find her?Just like that?Lilly looks like Deborah, the one thing T.Ray loved the most.
If you were Lily and had a dad like T.Ray would you also run-away from home?
In response to Kayla A.P.’s question:
I also asked myself the same thing.
I believe that if August told Lily in the beginning about her mother, Lily would not have had to lie about her identity.
If I was August I think I would have also waited to tell Lily about her being Deborah’s daughter because I also would want Lily to tell the truth about herself when she was ready.
When I first started the book I will admit that I was not excited.
15 pages into the book my mood began to change I really started to enjoy it!
Out of the three summer reading books I would have to that say this was my favorite.
One of the my favorute parts was when Lily found out that she was actually staying with the nanny her mother had as a child.
I feel this book had very touching moments and it has really inspired me and taught me a lesson on how you shouldn’t let skin color get in the way of who you love or want to be friends with.
I found this book very touching. What Lily goes through her life is very heartbreaking. I was satisfied with the endind and was much healthier for all of them. I really loved that she found two kinds of love in the end.
Response to Kayla A.P. :
I think what August did with the whole waiting thingwas the right course of action, for Lily that is. In my opinion if she told Lily right away it would have overwhelmed her. I think that she neede to learn to trust August first to learn the truth. My example is when T. Ray told Lily that her mother left her and she didn’t believe him.
Why do you think that May felt the world’s pain?
If you were Lily would you have stood up to T.Ray?
I think that Lily was a very brave person leaving like she did and breaking Rosaleen out from the hospital. She was also very brave by hitchhiking to a place where she had never been to before with some one she didn’t know.
I agree with Erika J.L. Many people in the book told Lilly that the sisters were less than her, or she shouldn’t be around them, just because they were a different color skin. But she didn’t agree with them, and was not afraid to stick around them no matter what others might think. This is very inspiring.
Response to Melinda N.S.:
I think that T. Ray let Lilly stay with the sisters because he thought of her as Deborah’s daughter, and because he loved Deborah so much, he left her there because it was best for her, and for him, because she probably reminded him of his late wife so much.
In the book, August says that she knew ever since Lilly came into the parlor that she was Deborah’s daughter. Do you think she should have told Lilly from the beginning, or waited until she did? How would things have been different if August had told her before?
This book was very interesting and touching. It’s really sad how Lilly has to go through her whole life, feeling guilty that she killed her mother, even though it was an accident. To make things worse, her father never shows any signs of loving her, and is often close to abusive with her. The closest person she has to a mother is Rosaleen, who loves her very much. When she finds the three sisters, she heals many of her wounds, which is very moving.
One question throughout the story that remained a mystery was the bees she saw that no one else saw. Was it her imagination, or her want for freedom?
Lily feels that she really doesn’t consider Rosaleen as a mother because she didn’t really set a good example for her.Rosaleen may have given her a good word and theory about things, but that doesn’t fill the gap that Lily needed it replace her own mother.Also, just the fact that Lily knows she isn’t her real mother and that she doesn’t act like her real mom, it makes her want Rosaleen to be as caring as she thought her mom was.
I think that she did overreact about the whole situation.She should of thought it through and realize the things her mom sacrificed and danger she put herself in to go back and get Lily.
I thought Lily is a really brave and powerful character in this book, she has many strengths that help along the way during hard times in the story.
In response to Martin D.A :
yea i agree, i think this book wasn’t all that interesting in the beginning, but as the story continued it got better.
Olivia K. D.
One of the things that definitely makes Lily crack is when she hears the truth, for example, when she starts throwing jars of honey all around when August tells her the truth about her mother.
Why do you think T Ray left Lily with August?Was it because deep down he loved her as a daughter?Or just the fact that he would save himself a lot of guilt and embarasment in front of the girls?
When Lily found out the devastating news about her mom, she was very upset and disappointed, how would you have felt if you were in the same situation??
I thought that this book was interesting.It has a lot of detail when it comes to the emotions and thoughts of the characters.
I also think that the events that happened in the book and the people who Lily encountered changed her life significantly.
When Lily finally had enough of T-Ray she decided to run away and find out more about her mom, would you have gotten up enough courage to do the same??
In response to Marin D.A.
I don’t think I’d let two strangers into my house. It could have been possible that these two strangers would have tried to steal my belongings, or do something else that could hurt both me and my family.
Lily is a girl of strength and courage, but you can also see she has her weaknesses, what do you think sometimes makes her crack?
In response to Savannah V.H.
I definitely would have run away if I was being abused. I’d either go to a police station or to a close friend’s home. Being abused is totally intolerable.
In Respone to Martin D.A.:
I may let two strangers in my house because August is that kind of person who is generous and has an open mind. Also when Lily and Rosaleen came to them she had of feeling of who they were and probably thought she could help.
Question – Would you stand up for an African American during the Civil Rights movement?
To be quite honest, I found it very hard to connect with this book. I really couldn’t put myself in Lily’s shoes, but I did admire her courageous attitude about certain things. I really enjoyed when she defied her abusive father by running away, then standing up to him in the end.
I enjoyed the fact that she was attracted to Zach, thus totally breaking what she previously was told about African Americans being ugly.
i thought this was a good book but i dont get the beginning when the bees are coming into Lily’s room. are there really bees flying around in her room?
In response to Savannah V. H. :
Yes, I would run away and go to the authority if I was being abused.
To response to Savannah V. H.:
Maybe it’s because she knows that Rosaleen is not her mom and it doesn’t feel the same as a real mom.
If You were in August’s shoes would you let two strangers into your house if
you knew they needed help.
To me this book was kind of boring in the beginning but kept getting better.
Does anyone agree with me?
I believe that this book is one of the best books I have read in a while. The story just flows with every piece of the puzzle connected to one another in such perfect order. This book shows the true life of what had occured oh so recently, and the mistakes that we made. This book, manages to describe the whole racism fude. i believe that the book is really touching and should be recommended to others.
In response to Natalie Y.B ,
I don’t believe that May’s death could be described of as predictable. Although she had problems, she did not seem to fit the type of committing suicide. Her death, in my opinion was unpredicted.
In response to George T. ,
In my opinion, I believe that had Lily not lied upon the matter of her arrival, the story would not have moved on the way it did. Lily states that she had an aunt in Virginia, due the the fact that she was not ready to explain herself at that particular moment in time. Had she explained the truth upon her recent whereabouts, she may not have been accepted so freely the way she was. I believe Lily was correct in her decision of delaying the truth.
In response to Sebastians question: I think that T.Ray wouldn’t have found Lily and after a while he would have regretted what he had done to Lily’s life. I mean who can keep living and forget that they have a kid ?
I think this book was really inspiring but I had one question through the book: If Rosaleen hadn’t helped Lily through the book would Lily had gone all the way to Tiburon ,South Carolina and learned the truth about her mom ?
In response to Elijah D.s question : I believe that T.Ray would still be a bitter angry man because in the book Deborah left T.Ray because his attitude had changed toward her and and she was scared to be around him from what the book has told us, so I believe that even if Deborah was still alive he would be the same angry bitter man.
If you were in May’s shoes, and you would see the world as this miserable dark place, how would you learn to vent with all of it’s ‘evilness’. Would you, like May, use a Wailing Wall? Or would you do something differently.
To George T’s question: I think that what you are saying is half true. Lily should have handled the situation diferently, but maybe her only choice was to lie to August. Lily didn’t know her well enough to know that she wouldn’t turn them over to the cops, or worse, to her father. Lily was only trying to protect Rosaleen and herself.
In responce to Stephen A.A’s both questions; Depending on the daughter, and how long I knew her mother, I would say that it is possible for me to recognize her, provided that their resembelance, and additude, were simlar.
If I had just learned that I was left behind by my mother, I would probably feel abandoned. But if I were in Lily’s place, I would feel abanoned, but get over it quicklier, becuase I would know there is at least one person who loves me, (i.e August, Rosaleen, Zach)
In this book, I believe that Lily was the most courageous then any other fiction character I have ever read about. Who would have the bravery to be able to run away from home, spring someone from jail, and manage to keep an important secret away from someone she loves? Lily not only shows her bravery, but also, that she is strong enough to do all of these things.
Response to George T.
yea lily was a little rude to rosaleen quite a bit in the story but lily helped rosaleen a lot in the story. So it was pretty fair.
Response to Stephen A.A.
yea i would probly feel abandoned. But i wouldn’t keep wondering about it every day.
Were you surprised by May’s death or did you see it coming? What did you think?
I enjoyed this book and laughed some while reading it. Lily did frustrate me a couple times during my read. For example, when she called T.Ray was one of the most ignorant things that she did. I was literally yelling at the book, ha.
Response to Josh R.B
Yes I do think she did. I don’t blame her for getting mad and disappointed, but she did take it a bit too far.
Response to George T.
Yes I do believe she was being rude to Rosaleen a lot actually. But at the same time, Rosaleen was being rude to her too.
Stephen A. I’m going to answer your two questions:
1st if I were August I probably would of recognized Deborah’s daughter pretty fast if Deborah and Lily look so alike
2nd yes if I were Lily I would feel abandoned after all that
In response to Andrew N.
Yes, I wrote it all myself. I write on a daily basis usually and i believe it only took me about 5 minutes for this one. Oh and thank-you Alejandra i appreciate it. You too Andrew.
Fernando thats a pretty good poem. NICCEE!!!!
If you were Lily would you feel abandoned after learning that you were an unwanted baby and that you were left behind by your mother?
If you where August do you think you would have recognized someone’s daughter right away?
I also agree with Kyle E.M
It was sad to see the way T ray was abusing Lily in the beginning but I was glad for her when she came into such a caring family.
I agree with what Stephanie A.T. says I would not run away from T. Ray just because I was scared. Maybe I would consider it if it was to shelter a good friend like Rosaleen.
I agree with Morgan C.L.G i found this book was really good after i had gotten into it and I found it interesting the way Lily and Rosaleen were just accepted into there house, showing the kindness of August’s family
I thought this book was kind of boring in the beginning but started getting better.
I also liked how August and her ssters took Lily and Rosaleen in and cared for them. This book also taught me some stuff i didnt even know about bees.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I liked the way Lily took charge and saved Rosaleen and decided on her own how to handle the situation, in going and looking for clues about her mother.
I think Lilly shouldn’t have lied to August about Rosaleen and how they were looking for family members in Virginia.
Do you guys think Lilly was being a little rude to Rosaleen a couple of times in the book?
kyle E.M. It took me a very long time to get into the book. But then i caught on and did relate to alot of her feelings.
I agree with Amylee M.M. I wouldn’t run away. I’d try to cope but running away would be the most beneficial.
Danielle L. I also like how they put facts in the beginning of each. it was different, something i never seen before.
In response to Sebastions question about wheather T. Ray was searching for Lily because he really loved her or if he just saw too much of Deborahin her to let her leave, I think it was a little bit of both. No matter how coldhearted anyone says
T. Ray is he was once a kind person who was won over by Deborah Fontanel. But when she died all that love and kindness when with her. But I’m sure some strands of it still linger with Lily.
Wow Charmaine, geez u wrote a lot!
But i like what you wrote. Its really nice that you can realate with Lily on other levels. Thanks for being so open and honest about your opinions.
I belive that T. Ray really did slightly love Lily somewhat. But my question is, if Lily’s mother hadn’t passed away when she was so young, would T. Ray still be the angry bitter man that we know from the book?
This book was personally my favorite book of our reading list and truly inspired me this summer. It made me laugh, cry, smile, and scream. Surrounded by family I became slightly more aware of how lucky I was. But when Lily found family far from relatives, I became sincerely happy for the little girl with no mother who grew up on a peach orchard just outside of Sylvan, South Carolina.
Kyle E.M, I think that a lot of books are like that. You have to keep reading and push yourself to get into the book, but once you get into the book it really is a very good story about a white girl living with an abusive father and having to run away and live with 4 black women and falling iun love with a black boy.
I agree with Richard P. that they are some “men” who treat little girls, tennagers, and women like crap. I don’t understand how somebody can take out the anger that they have for somebody on someone else. Especially a young girl like Lily.
The most exciting parts in the book was when lily busted Rosaleen out of jail and at the end when T.Ray finds lily
This book wasn’t really interesting. I was bored while reading it and never got really into it.
I felt sorry for Lily at first because T Ray was a realy mean person but after Lily met the calendar sisters I envied her because she was so happy to be with loving people who cared for her like the family she never had.
I realy enjoyed this book. It was kind of dull and boring at first, but it turned out to be a very well written book. I realy started to understand it because you could relate yourself to Lily in some situations.
In response to Olivia K.D.
I think it was ok for Lily to have temper tantrums. I believe this because all people handle things differently. For some of us it’s harder to control our emotions than it is for others. It’s just how some people handle stressful situations. It may make people seem immature at times but like I said before it just depends on how you control your emotions.
In response to Fernando J.E.
I think this book was both about racism and about finding happiness. I feel this way because it was realy messed up that Rosaleen got beat up by white men, but I also believe that this book is about finding happiness because deep down I think that’s what we’re all looking for.
In response to Elizabeth C. I think that T. Ray treated her so badly to try and take out some of his anger and unhappiness out on her since she reminded him so much of her mother
Fernando that poem was pretty insane did you write that all by yourself?
In response to Ian p.c. no Lily didnt wait to long to tell August about her mother she was just waiting until she felt ready and she also had to wait a while to tell August since she was still mourning over May’s death
I like how Hanni S. dicovered how all the names have a similarity to things that are in nature. That is really creative writing by the author.
As I read the end of this novel, I found it very nice of T. Ray to let Lily stay with August. I bet that during the conversation they were having, T. Ray was probably thinking that it would be much better for Lily to stay here with August and her sisters. That goes to show that how abusive and mean a person may be, there is always a little love somewhere inside that person. It may not show all the time but it is always there.
Looking at the way this book ended, I would have to say that Lily and Rosaleen got pretty lucky to end up staying with August. August and her sisters could simply kicked them out. But once August saw Lily’s face, she automatically thought of her mom, Deborah. I bet August was thinking about shutting the door on them before she took a look at Lily’s face.
Response to Savanah V.H.
If I was being abused that badly I would probably put some thought into running away. But no matter how hard they treat you, family should always comes first in life because without them you wouldn’t be here right now. I know there are some people out there that have some problems with family and life but the world will never be perfect.
Response to Josh R.B.
Yes, I do believe Lily reacted too harshly when she found out about her mother. I would be mad too, but to keep screaming, “I hate her!”, and banging around is a little too much. Really though, at least she tried to come back for her.
Stephanie A.T. Lily did overreact a lot. Im not realy sure how else she could have reacted though
I think that Lily took what August said a little too harshly. I would be mad too but I don’t think that i would be so mad that I would start throwing glass honey jars around a room and making a big mess
Hanni M.S. I didn’t realize that a lot of the names had to do with nature! Thats really awesome. I didn’t think about until you pointed it out.
I think that this book was realy good. If i could change one thing about this book i would write that it was actually T. Ray that shot Lilys mom.
Hanni M.S. I never noticed that about the names that is really cool how they all have something to do with nature! Do you think that it was a coincidence? Or the author did that purposely?
Sombody asked if it was a book about finding racism or about finding happiness. And i think that it was about finding happiness. There were the little racism parts with Rosaleen and her not being able to go to certain places. But it was more of Lily getting away from her father that treated her terribly and landing with August and her sisters who treated her with kindness and accepted her into her home.
i just saw the preview for the movie
and i really cant wait to see it. =)
that was a reallygood poem. i reall liked it.
Reading the book it seemed it was a touching story and i Knew this could happen in real life but id never expect something like this to somebody that I know.
Ive known Charmaine quite a few years. and never in my life would i have expected that to have happened to her. She always seemed so happy and always joked around and was singing. That this came as a shocker. Ive always looked up to you charmaine in how your a good singer and student and now to have gone all through this wow.
In response to Nicole E A
I don’t think that I would break a family member out of prison, because I’d probably be to scared to get caught. I would just wait to pay the bail.
I really liked this book, especially the facts they would put before every chapter! They were a bit hard to understand at first, but then I totally understod them. They were very clever.
Do you think that the reason that Lily’s dad doesn’t let her read books is because she would go to collage, and maybe even grow up to be a better person with a better job? Or maybe he just doesn’t want her to leave him?
In the book the school kids make fun of colored people, and Lily laughs at it (pg 116). Later on she feels bad about it because they were wrong. I think that she shouldn’t feel bad because they were wrong, but because it was wrong.
Ohh Elizabeth you’re so sweet. 🙂 Thank you.. That’s very touching, and it’s not Everyday that we get a word-out like that..
That’s very sweet.. 🙂
i think this book was awsome exept i dont know why the heck she called T Ray from the phone ( i mean who would be dumb enough to call the very person tracking you down with out thinking he would use that call to track her back down)
Is it just me or did lily take way to long to ask august about her mother?
in response to Savanah V.H
i think if i was being abused like her and i had a place to go yes i would run away instead of just taking it and letting him think hes above me or something.
in response to Josh R.B.
yes i do think she reacted to harsh to the news about her mom because i think her mom truly did love her daughter or she wouldnt have tryed coming back for her, and i think she should have just forgave her mother for her one mistake and went on nowing her mother did love her
In response to Savannah V. H-August 7:
I don’t think I would take it to the extreme of running away, because where would I go? The closest family I have live an hour away (besides my mom who lives with me)! However, I would try seeking the police’s help. Maybe if I did I could go live with my family (the one who lives an hour away) without having to hitchhike. ; ). (as compared to running away without the authorities knowing). So in short, I would not run away.
In response to Olivia K. D.
I agree with you that Lily was very immature to throw the jars of honey in the honey house. I mean, it’s okay that’s she’s mad, but there were better ways to handle her anger.
Even though I think Lily overreacted when her father told her that her mother had left her, I think that Lily made the right choice in going to Tiburon. This may sound contradictory, but think about it, if she hadn’t ran away she would still be wondering whether T. Ray was right or not. By running away she cleared things up and found out her mother did love her, though it took sometime to sink in. She also wouldn’t have found Zach.
In my opinion Lily was very courageous throughout the book. Her courage was reflected when she decided to break Rosaleen out of jail and running out away from T. Ray, knowing that if she was caught hours of “Martha Whites” would be awaiting her and maybe even some welts on her legs. The courage she had to hitchhike all the way to Tiburon, not knowing whether or not the driver had good intentions. The courage she had to finally tell August the truth no matter how much she thought it was going to be. And last but not least, the courage to accept the truth about her mother. There are more things, but this is what stood the most to me.
I think Lily over react about find out the truth and shoul of just took the time to think about it and talk the whole thing through with someone like August.
I’m not certain why T Ray treated Lily so badly being the last thing reminding him of Deborah but my thought is that Lily reminded him that Deborah abandoned him and she didn’t love as he loved he loved her. That’s only my thought though
Alot people can relate to Lily’s situation and alot of people have that time when they just want to just run away from all of their problems. Some people do run away or they give up on life and turn to drugs. Some of those people do it out of stupidity. I think Lily did so much better off running away even though she took a very dangerous risk of doing so.
To me, it’s truly amazing how so many people in this world have lived through something very hard and still have enough strength to wake up each morning and act like everything is okay. To be strong and hold it in. I don’t know if I could do that. Many people I know have gone through a lot, especially with family.This blog is for you especially, Charmaine. I still remember that morning in fifth grade when you walked into my classroom, for the first time. You might remember this, I do. We got along well that year, we would always joke around. You really did seem like the happiest girl on earth. Well of course time passed by, middle school. After that I really didn’t talk to you as much, because I really didn’t see you as much. Once in a while though we would talk, especially on the internet. hehe.
You always seemed so fine! I never even knew about this! Reading your blog really woke me up and made me realize who you really are. I know that from time to time you always seem to be struggling with something new. Despite that, you never lose that smile and lets not get into further details about your beautiful voice!. To me, that’s someone that should be admired, for your courageousness. No matter how hard life hits you, you get right back up. Yes, your story can tie in with Lily’s, and alot! Like I said before, I am happy that I read this book. Look what it made me realize! Thanks Mrs. Nicastro!
In response to Savanah V.H’s question I don’t think I would run away if i was being abused. I would talk to someone about it first.
If Lily Owens was the only thing left T. Ray had that reminded him of Deborah, then why did he treat her so bad and lie to her?
When I first read the title of this book I thought, great a book about bees! What could possibly be interesting about bees? However, as i began reading further on into the book I began to see that it wasn’t simply just about bees. It was about a young teen struggling to find an answer to her mother’s death, meanwhile living with her father, whom she only called T. Ray. Lily Owens struggled her way to find the truth, even if it meant leaving her cold father. Despite the confusion of all the bee quotes, I really enjoyed this book. To me it was a very good choice for our summer reading program. The tension that arose in this book was outstanding. Lily was very brave to do what she did.
Responding to Savanah V. H.
If i were in the situation that Lily was in, being abused and all. I would most likely have ran away!
If you were August, would you have been as patient with Lily lying in the beginning of the book. Or would you be like June and not be as friendly and act mean toward her?
Response to Olivia K.D.
I think that Lily should have taken the situation more maturely. I think she acted to quickly before she just though it through! I don’t blame her for being a little mad, but not mad enough for throwing things around and just blowing up.
I thought this book was a really great book! It was so interesting! It surprised me a lot! I thought the relationship between TRay and Lily was so sad, because they were not close at all even for Lily to call TRay dad!
Although the weak relationship caused Lily tp find a better life, i just wished that when TRay found Lily again that he would love Lily more or at least respect her.
In ‘The Secret Life of Bees,’ Lily leaves T. Ray’s plantation with nothing more than a city name, assuming that answers await her there. Considering the circumstances, would you have done the same and left? If not, would you try and seach for some definate evidence that Tiburon was the place to go?
In the book, Lily breaks Rosaleen out of the hospital in an attempt to save her from an almost certain death. [It bing to mind the FOX series, ‘Prison Break.’] If someone you loved was in the same situation, would you attempt to save them? Regardles of what might happen to you? Why or why not?
Response to Amy S.:
I don’t think I could bring myself to run away if my parents abused me. If could, though, I would at least want to know where I’d go once I left.
Also, I wouldn’t have thought of Mary as a replacement mother. A mother is something that cannot be replaced. Quite frankly, I see it as an insult to replace a mother, and with a statue at that.
Response to Stephanie A.T.:
I do believe that Lily overreacted. I think at least she could have taken the time to digest the imformation before drawing such harsh conclusions. From a pesonal standpoint, opinions come upon that way are better than automatic conclusions.
In response to Janieces question maybe Lily called T.Ray because she wanted to believe he actually missed her. Maybe she thought he changed his ways while she was gone.
In response to Amy i don’t think I would runaway from home if I was being abused. I would probaly tell a family member or somebody I trust about the situation.
Why did T.Ray feel he needed to tell Lily what happened to her mother when she was in the first grade? Why was he so surprised that she would remember such a thing?
The titleof this book would of never given me the hint this book was going to be about a young girls journey to happiness.
I thought this book was very well written. My favorite part was the ending when Lily found happiness within the Boatwright sisters and Rosaleen. I admired Lily’s perserverance when school began and everyday she would sit with Zachary at lunch even though all of the other kids were teasing her. The only thing I would have done differently than Lily is I wouldn’t have called T-Ray. I wouldn’t want to see him after I had been happy for the first time in my life.
In response to Sebastian C.W. :
I do not think that by searching for Lily it was proof that he loved her. I think it was proof that he wanted to control her.
In a way I think T. Ray was afraid that he would the last remnant of Deborah. I think T. Ray’s hatred towards Lily was more of jealousy because Deborah loved Lily more than she loved him.
In response to Wynter S.H.:
I do NOT think that Lily killed her mother. She was only four years old and at that age your still pretty tiny. Also, I do not think she had the strength or means to point a gun and shoot her mother.
I would have escaped and broken Rosaleen out of jail the exact same way as Lily. I would not have immediately told August why I came to her home. I would have taken a few months to tell her like Lily.
I really enjoyed reading this book. In the beginning I didn’t think that I would like it, but as the story progressed it became really interesting. This story showed me how a courageous a young woman could be in 1964 South Carolina. When Lily arrives at August’s house and begins working for her I was amazed at all of the different ways they used bee honey.
I saw the preview too. Seems like it will be cool movie.
I saw the preview for the secret life of bees
This book showed us individuality and made us realize how bad a child needs a mother/father figure. In the case of Lily though, she didn’t have anyone as a figure or role model except for Rosaleen that helped her in the ways she could, even when society denied her.I think they are both really strong characters in the book.It was the perfect book to read for the summer in my perspective
Oh my goodness, I can not believe that Lily actually called her father, T. Ray, when she was living happily in the pink house. Well, I guess it kind of made sense to her, at the time, but, I wonder, her looking back, if she would regret doing that? Really, I guess, it helped out things, because in the end she no longer had to worry about him. She was going to stay there for as long as she wanted, without any worries. Plus, it helped her to find out that T. Ray did care about her. Yes, he didn’t always show it, but he did. That one phone was pretty much a good thing for everyone, in the end. What do you think?
Responding to Robert L S. : I do believe that she, Lily, did expect too much out of her mother, in the sense of her, Deborah, being a goddess of some sort rather than an actual person. When she found out the “truth” about her mother, she just couldn’t believe that her “goddess” mother would have done that, or lived like that. I mean, yes I fully understand that Lily never really knew her, but you can’t expect so much out of a person that you hardly knew and then get all butt hurt when you find out that she was a reagular person. Does anyone understand what I mean, or am I just not looking at this whole dilemma properly?
Responding to Stephanie A. T. : Yes, I understand everything that Lily’s father, T. Ray, did to her, and I understand the fact that she didn’t give him another chance, but i tend to look at that differently. I am not the kind of person to hold a grudge against someone. Yes, my life isn’t perfect, no one’s life is perfect, but to not give someone another chance, that’s something I don’t fully agree with. Yes I believe that what T. Ray did to Lily is cruel and unheard of, but, seriously, if that were to be me in Lily’s shoes, I would give him another chance. Ya, everyone is saying “Oh ya I would just pack up my things and leave because of the way he treats me,” would you really have the courage to leave EVERYTHING YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN to go with your nanny to, really, no place in particular? I know, personally, that it’s easy to just say, “Oh I’m leaving and I won’t ever come back”, but to say it AND mean it is something So completely different, it’s indescribable. Yes, people, parents, my parents, have told me to leave and go live somewhere else, but when I say fine, I will, they come back eith excuses, like “Oh, no you won’t, you don’t have the guts” or “No, no, no, I didn’t really mean it, come back and stay with me.” Truly I don’t even know if I meant it when I said I would leave. Yes, it’s easy to imagine saying this and saying that, or doing this then doing that, but life isn’t like that. Things always end up turning out differently than what you had hoped for in the beginning. For better or for worse. Now I’m not quite sure if I stayed on topic or not, but if you have anything to say, please say it. And think about it, when you say something, such as “Fine then, I’ll leave right now”, do you really mean it, or are you just saying it?
I greatly admire what Lily did. She did not like her father. If I had a father like that, I wouldn’t like him either, which i believe most of you would agree with me. She had the courage and bravery to sneak Rosaleen out of the hospital, travel to someone’s house, who she doesn’t even know, just to try to find out information about her mother, and it just so happens that August happened to be Lily’s mother’s nanny. This book has so many “coincidents” I don’t even think they are all possible to really happen in reality! Would you have the courage to leave everything you have ever known to arrive to some unknown place where you don’t even know if anyone with take you in because you and your nanny have no food or shelter? And to do all of this to try to find out some information about your mother, that died when you were little because you accidently shot her, not even knowing if anyone ever knew who she was?
Oh my goodness, well, for starters, I absolutley LOVE this book. I don’t care what people say, I LOVE IT! Anyways, wow you guys write a lot! So, responding to who ever wrote about the Zach and Lily relationship, I am not sure if they eventually get together or not, but if they truly did love on another, I don’t think it would have mattered what ANYBODY said or did to them. They would be together and that’s that.
If Lily had not called T. Ray that day at Mr. Clayton’s office, do you think he would have ever found her? Would he have learned his lesson and regret what he had done? Or do you think he would go on being stubborn while Lily stayed with the Boatwrights?
The day T. Ray came and found Lily, he mentions how he had been searching for her for so long. Is this proof that T. Ray truly loved her even if it was in a very small way? Or was it that T. Ray was just afraid he would lose the last remnant of his love, Deborah Owens?
In response to Savannah V.H., I believe Lily feels she doesn’t have a mother because she thinks of it physically since her mother died when she was young. Also, Rosaleen was not the only mother figure in her life. Like she stated at the end of the book, the women she met at the bee farm had all become her mothers.
In response to Josh R.B., I believe Lily did react to harshly after hearing the truth about her mother. It is understandable how she felt she was guilty for her mother having to marry T. Ray and how she felt she was an unwanted baby, but August had also told her how her mother had said Lily was so pretty and how much she had loved Lily. If Lily had been a little less stubborn about her mother supposedly abandoning her she may have instead seen how much her mother truly loved her.
Yes. Had I been treated badly and abused like Lily than I would’ve found it very easy to run away just because I wouldn’t be able to stand living like that.
Had I been in Lily shoes and about to run away, I would’ve probably done things a little differently by just telling August why I had come to her immediately rather than wait months just to learn that she had already known who I was.
Do you think Lily reacted too harshly when she learned the truth about her mother from August?
One of the things I enjoyed about the book was that despite the events taking place at the time (The Civil Rights Movement, Jim Crow Laws, etc.), Lily was still able to become great friends with Rosaleen and the Calendar Sisters.
I thought it was really intersting the way that they took the catholic religion and made it into their own by adding in other things they made up themselves
At first this book was very boring and i was dragging threw the first few pages but then after a little it took a turn for the better at about the time rosaline first went to vote
Hey Janiece. I agree with you that lilly had shot her mother by accident,but I think it could have been intentional because she could have been mad at her mother for leaving her all that time alone with T.ray
no.I don’t think I would have the courage to run away even if I was being abused like lilly. Iwould have been terrified.
Sup Wynter! I’ve decided that i’m going to respond to your questions, k? Well I do believe that Lily might have shot her mother by ACCIDENT because it’s not totally impossible, but I don’t think that it was at all intentional. For your second question, I would probably have to say that I would have done the exact thing that Lily did, except I would probably tell August about the situation a little earlier than she did.
I agree with you, regarding T-Ray and his emotional distress. I think that since his wife Deborah decided to leave, a part of him left as well, causing him to go nuts,you know? But then again Deborah was still with or conected to him because he sees her in Lily. Im guessing that seeing her in Lily brings pain to him all the time driving him over the edge.
In response to your question, I belive this book IS about finding happiness. In a way, each of the characters overcomes a hardship…. like Lily(of course). But even May, her deceased sibling, June and her marriage perposal, and even August keeping everyone together.
So, I have two questions on the book. Do you realy think that Lily killed her mother? Personally I think that it is possible, she was only four at the time, but there is like no way you can really know. My second question is if you were in Lily’s shoes, how might you do things differently in escaping, would you have broke Rosaleen out of jail, would you immedietly tell August why you came to her home?
The book was interesting, but not one of my favorites. I can understand how all of the facts about bees can become a little too much, but then again I learned a few interesting things about bee behavior. In this book I like how determend Lily is to find the truth about her mother. She shows great courage in many of the things she does; such as breaking Rosaleen out of jail, escaping all the way to Tiburon and CONTINUOUSLY lieng. I couldnt do it man.
I didn’t notice that till now.. That’s cool. Their names do relate with nature.
In response to people’s questions about if Zach and Lily were going together. Zach gave Lily that necklace promising her that one day they would be together. They couldn’t be together right then because of the time period. They would have gotten threats, Lily might have been taken away if they found out who she was living with, and Zach would have worse than just teasing and paper thrown at him.
In response to everyones common answers about how Lily acted immature to when she found out that her mother left her, look how T.Ray reacted to it. Don’t you think that was way worse than how Lily reacted? At least Lily cleaned her mess up and she got over it, but T.Ray just took it all out on Lily for 10 years.
Most of the people in the book who help Lily have a name that has something to do with nature. Rosaleen for roses, August, June, and May= months of spring and summer, Sugar-girl= sugar and sugar cane, Violet and Lily= flowers, Queenie for queen bees, Mr. Clayton Forrest= forrests, and the store Frogmore Stew General Store and Restaurant= frogs.
On page one of The Secret Life of Bees Lily says, “The way those bees flew, not even looking for a flower, just flying for the feel of the wind, split my heart down its seam.” This foreshadows that her heart has been ripped apart before because according to the sentence her heart already has a seam instead of it just being a whole heart. As you find out later in the story Lily’s heart breaks because of what her father says to her about her mother leaving her and also when Lily accidently kills her mother and when August tells her of her mom.
In response to Jonathan J.P. I do think that Lily had the support to break the cycle of her abusive father.
This book is really depressing but the way Sue Monk Kidd writes makes the book so good. I like how everything is decsribed so well, and how you can imagine the images in your head. This book was written wth great detail but in some parts of the book I didn’t want to imagine somethings…like how T. Ray abused Lily was really depressing.
Why doe Lily feel she doesn’t a mother when Rosaleen has been a mother figure to her all along?
If you were put in a situaion where you were abused would you run away?
This book was not what I had expected…
It was sad how Lily was abused by T. Ray. If I was in her place I would’ve done the same thing because I would want to get as far away from him as possible. So what if she did’nt know where she was heading but the important thing is she got away from the abuse she had been put through.
Nicole K.C. :
“Controling others does somthing to a persons mind, makes them feel superior.”
I agree with you. 🙂
Maybe T.Ray couldn’t accept the fact that he couldn’t control anyone.
He’s just so lost.
I feel pity for him though….
It was kind of mean for Deborah to let go just like that…
But again.. Love.. is Love.
And yeah dude…
One fault ruins it all.
Every tale’s got a hidden treasure.
I agree with Ernie about T. Ray saying “Good Riddance” to Lily. He must have felt something as he left her in the dust as he drove off. At least he cared enough and realized that she was better off there.
In response to Charmaine’s I do belive that Hitler was different before, but things changed him. He may not have been racist towards Jews but elders or others formed his mind to think like that. Like Lily at first who was told that she was better than African-Americans, but she was able to break free from that. Once Hitler was given power, it may not have been a lot but just enough for him to want more. Controling others does somthing to a persons mind, makes them feel superior. T. Ray wanted power over Lily because he could not control his wife from leaving. This power made him feel like he was taking back something that he lost a long time ago. Hitler may have been doing the same thing.
In response to Fernando’s question I belive that this book is about finding happiness and racism was just one of the obstacles the characters in the book had to overcome to reach it.
I believe myself to be a lot like Lily. I often do stuff with out thinking it through which in the end those actions could hurt others. When she ran away I could see myself doing the same thing. The frustration and the anger she felt with T. Ray and trying to get him to love her had built up in her and pushed her to the point to run away. If she would have thought this decision through Lily still could have been stuck with T. Ray. By going to a relative he could have easily found her, so she went to the one place he did not know about which turned out to be the right place for her.
Yeah and thank-you for the comment
Yeah its pretty insane.
How one person can ruin the lives of so many.
Then it take millions to restore order.
I hope everyone learned from this ordeal or else history will repeat itself.
This book really opens your heart so i hope everyone enjoyed it! 🙂
You know what, the author messed up on her book. Like seriously. Well, I’m not sure if I missed something in there.. but she did make them sound So so young and suddenly she makes me think she’s in her 40’s.. May sounds like a young girl, but then again, a part of her died and stuff so she wasn’t normal. June played cello for funeral homes and taught at some school and she acted as if she was in her early 20’s. August on the other side sounded as if she was 25 or something.. I was also wondering, hahha 😛
Over all though, even though there was too much on the Bee facts and fit too neatly, while these girls are like I-DON’T-KNOW how old, the story was pretty cute..
We can’t blame her.. she said that it was only a short story in the beginning until she was asked to read it out for.. I forgot.. lol but yeah.. Anyway, she got back into it and she wasn’t sure if she was ready for a novel but she made a Go for it!
In her situation, I think she did a pretty good job..
Okay my question about this book: how old are “The Calender Girls”? I know that might seem really random, but when I first started reading I thought that they were probably in their late twenties, but then August said she had worked for Lily’s grandmother since since Deborah was a child. So now I’m just confused, because they really seem the older type. anyway I know that probably seems really random but its just beeen bugging me away so I figured I might as well ask.
I love that poem you made.. 🙂
I write poetry too..
It’s a great deal of time to think, but it’s worth the thought.
-You are absolutely right! It’s crazy how God [I’m not going to into religion basis because… no, no, no, it just ain’t the right subject to mess with.] gave us a free will of living and thinking.
It’s crazy how one mind can ruin the world, right? I rather say it’s.. amazing than horrible..
I know. It sounds so ridiculous for me to say that. But Gosh!
Think about it dude.. don’t you think that it’s great to see what a mind can do?
One belief can mess one others’.
I can say lollipops are better than ice cream -and if the whole world thought that ice cream was better than lollipop, gee. -I’d be dead by now.
Stephanie A.T., in response to your question I don’t think she necessarily overreacted but she definately reacted in differently than how I would have. I’m sorry to say this but throwing honey against a wall isn’t really my thing. The reason I don’t think she overreacted is because i believe up until that moment she holding everything in, and not just what she had just learned but everything. Everything she’d ever been through, everything she’d ever felt, or seen, or heard. I think it all came down in that one moment.
Replying to Robert L.S
I believe that finding happiness was also the main one.
I trid the grits thing not fun! 😦
Response to Alejandra M.M’s question about Rosaleen being a mother: I can’t really see her as being a mother, but as a friend although she and Lily are very close.
Response to Fernando’s third question: I would have to say both with the happiness part being the main one.
I see you in my sleep and all i can do is weep
I fall into despair and i cant breathe any air
I live in infamy thats plays like one big symphony
You left me one big mess nevertheless I can’t protest
Your my afflcition
but i have a resolution
My happiness is your conclusion
Your in the darkest of places and only remember broken faces
while your heart is broken in so many places
you feel something deep inside
your heart is burnin inside
and the light is comin out of disguise
and burnin a hole right through the sky
whats this feeling thats not hurting inside
i dont seem to recognize
the darkness is fading and sunshine is waiting
my feelings are racing
and my heart is embracing
i stop to think
i found out that deep inside happiness can be found anywhere an everywhere
the book can really open your mind and i just wanted to share what i wrote with you 😀
To all you bloggers 😀
So do you think this is a book about racism or about finding happiness?
Well I’ll admit I wasn’t quite hooked on the book when i started reading. Getting to the middle i was still bored. So i decide to finish it just to do it. My mind clicked right there. The story started making sense you can find happiness in the hardest of places. For example, Lily was enjoying the fact that T -Ray’s influences were gone while she was with the Boatwright sisters.
In response to Charmaine C.M.M. latest question
Well I wrote a little something about Hitler on the In My Hands novel. Well its pretty simple so im going to throw out to you and you can give it a go.
I agree with you Hitler wasn’t all evil he lost his mother and father at a very young age. He lived in poverty for most of his teenage years. When World War 1 started he enlisted into the army as Sebastien C.W. pointed out her was a message runner until a british shell pierced into his left leg. After the war he joined the german Workers’ comitee which started his political career. After gaining political popularity he rose to power. He promised Germany that he would regain the land taken form World War 1 and get rid of the Jews who were taking all the money making jobs. Which influenced his ideas in exterminating all the Jews. His rise to abolute power led him to absolute corruption. His insanity drove him to do these many inhuman acts to the entire world.
Well you guys, we can’t blame the dude to be miserably-psychologically-problematic! Hahaha..
Richard R.P., I agree with you like nobody’s buisness. When T.Ray sits there being all abusive and what not, i mean dang, show some class. In my opinion he should be ashamed of himself. Yeah, you lost your wife in an accident, don’t be taking it out on your flippin daughter! What she ever do to you anyway? Shame Shame Shame
Ahahaha! OMG Janiece! Well I just found out that he was trying to register for art. They didn’t accept him because they said he wasn’t at all great with composition. THEN that is how he found out his REAL great talent…
-political speeches and getting the smart people to work with him.
Gee, what a talent! 😛
I still don’t know why he resented his own family [even so embarrassed of his sister] and the Jews.
He admired himself too much!
Charmaine. . .wow. . .well anyway, im gonna answer the last question you typed. I know for a fact that Hitler was different before. Nobody starts out in life with the first thought being “OMG, I hate Jews so I’m just gonna kill a whole heap of them because I feel like it!” That’s like a baby whos just born coming out of the womb saying “I think I should major in pre-law, what do you think, mother?”
Another character that particularly interested me was May. And I don’t so much think that she was “confused” by the pain that others experienced and that she saw. So much as I was took her over, and was her own. Almost as if it was empathy in the truest sense of the word.
I think one of the most emotionally deep characters in this story was T-Ray. While not trying to excuse what he did I belive at one point he was a better person and a lot of his anger, especially that of which was directed toward Lilly stems form his frustration toward his wife and his self. In a sense I think he was lost in his own life.
Regarding Lilly’s reaction toward her mother, I think she had every right to be upset however I don’t think she took into consideration that she may not have all the details to the story. So, even though she eventally did forgive her mother, I think she was a bit to quick to make her judgment. As to her temper-tantrum while it was a bit immature, you have to place yourself in her shoes, and if you had just found out that your mother may not have loved you. Could you imagine the anger and pain that would take over you?
This book showed the struggle of Lily as she tried to find her way through a very troubled life. In doing so it covers a lot of very important themes. Such as lily’s own struggle to over come her own buried racism, which came from from where and who she grew up with. It also shows her attempts at an interracial love that would be near impossible if not doomed from that start. Having to deal with all of this, I think, only adds to the journey. That of finding her mother, and herself.
Ms.Waddle! I agree with you!
I kinda read what you typed for us up there.
It’s not a great book, if you rely on talking about the bees.
It was a bit irritating..
I wanted to skip the Bee parts and stuff, but I read it anyway.
Ms.Nicastro/You might ask about beeswax and I wouldn’t know. 😛
Nevertheless, I still liked it because I got myself relating to it.
You know.. About T.Ray.. He kinda reminds me of my Dad.
Once upon a time, he was different.
In the end, he wasn’t him anymore…
Now that I think of it.. I have a question for all of you.
I kinda want an answer..
It is really out of topic.
I don’t want to get too into it, I just want a simple answer..
Hitler. Do you think Hitler was someone else before?
I mean, we can’t always rely on people’s judge-mental thoughts and the paper’s words…
Do you think Hitler was someone else and in time, also changed.. for some reason?
I’m sorry for getting off topic, I’m just a little curious..
—- I see that there are convos about temper tantrum.
Well, let me tell you about it.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, but the bottle you covered up inside you.
Lose the cap and let it flow, that’s what happens when it’s covered up for too long.
Imagine a coke, shaken;thrown.
Open it up.
See what happens?
Yeah.. just like temper.
People can get so shaken up, throwing themselves against the wall..
They open up, finally, and they explode.
She took out all the hurt and doubt that’s been bottled up in her system.
It ain’t the greatest way to release..
But gee, sometimes you just got to.
Think of your problem.
Go to a mountain, or an isolated place.
You know what? I realized something even greater than what I just thought was the greatest.
You set yourself for the right time, unknowingly.
I’ve been using the words unknowingly.
Not knowing things can be so great.
It surprises you.
-It renews your mind and soul..
Take a look at Lily Owens.
Once so insecure.
Once so doubtful.
Now a confined person.
Harsh things let you discover the world in deeper shades.
Just like her falling in love with Zach.
White skin-Brown skin.
Entwined love.. what a pretty pattern..
Now that’s what I’m talking about:
“I said,’If I was a Negro girl-‘ ”
“He placed his fingers across my lips so I tasted his saltiness. ‘We can’t think of changing our skin,’ he said. ‘Change the world-now that’s how we gotta think.’ “
I would like to answer Robert’s question, “Do you think that Lily expected too much of what her mother was? ”
Lily didn’t expect too much of what her Mother was.
She didn’t expect too much because it is our nature to think that way. Here, ask yourself this:
If you didn’t have your Mother and you wanted to know who she was and why she left you, what would you think?
After you learn of her, will you set words in your mind because of anger?
Would you spill out your confused, angry thoughts too?
Would you expect her the way Lily expected her Mother to be?
In my personal experience, I did the same thing Lily did.
I assumed that she’d keep her words.
She didn’t come back like she said she would.
I expected her to come back for me because I was her daughter.
I expected her to come back for me because she said so.
-There are things in life we think should be expected from a person, but never do we know, that sometimes, just below the surface, there are reasons why he/she was not what you thought he/she was.
It is natural to feel and think that way, and when you learn the truth, you just feel so dumb and regretful for all the great thoughts. But after all the spills, you realize it’s just Anger and Expect that kept you out of your mind.
To me, I think she didn’t really mean those things.. It was more like sorrow in her, and pity for her. She was trying to act tough, building a greater wall against her heart.
I’m sorry for the very long blog right there. I just needed to spill it out with all you. I want you guys to know that this book really touched my heart. It isn’t just a special book; it’s my life too. Whoever took their time to read it, thank you..
It’s really worth the reading though, really.
I just want to show everyone that I can still stand up even after all that I’ve been through.. It’s not even the worst of it, it was just the beginning.
God helped me get through with my life, like it helped Lily get through with her heart knowing Mother Mary was there with her.. Inside her.
When you feel so uncertain about things and you feel like you just want to burst, breaking things/doing drugs is NOT the answer, but reaching out to one’s hand.
Materials isn’t everything.. we all know that.
But love is.
It’s one thing money CANNOT buy; couldn’t.
I kinda messed up my quote, so let me revise it:
“Life is nothing but hope and trust.
If you face the world with what is killing you, you will learn that it isn’t so bad after all..
You just gotta jot it down.
Plant a seed in your heart, and let it grow OUT to reach people’s hearts…
Just like our Mother Mary did.”
I am so happy to read this book. This book… this book just collides with my own personal life.. I really hope you read this.. It’s one important part of me that I would love to share with you all.. It started out when I was 4 1/2 yrs. old.. When my Mother left me.. Four years before, she combed my hair, she dolled me up, she brought me to places, and showed me off to people. She sang with me, showed up with me on television. She brought me along festivals and let me sing my heart out. She was so proud to have me as her daughter.. My life’s been drastically changed, and yet.. I’m glad it turned out this way. I don’t know how to spill it out on you. I don’t even know how to share it with you.. My heart is thudding ever so soft, yet my mind is racing with the early images I’ve once had.. This book, “Secret Life of Bees”, made me realize how wonderful life is. I’m serious. I didn’t know whether to cry, or get angry at what I was reading.
My Mother once promised me she’d be back the next day. She told me if I missed her, to just dig in the closet and hold her things close.. She left me in the Philippines and seeked out for America. The very next day, I stood out waiting by the screen door.. Hours. I waited till I couldn’t take it anymore.. I cried and cried till I fell back asleep. I woke up with a phone call from my Mom. She wanted to speak with me, but I resented her. For 3 1/2 yrs., I was alone. I was the only girl in the house, stuck with boys.
My Father told me everynight before sleeping,”Your Mom left you, she left us.”
He’d ask me who I loved more each time he gets the chance. He wasn’t like T.Ray. He was much worse than him.
Much, much.. worse.
He never hurt me though, not me. I wasn’t his target of torture, I was his wall. He leaned on me everytime. He took out his anger on my brothers. I didn’t know who my Father was. All I knew was I was spoiled and he didn’t want my brothers. My nanny left because of him. She wasn’t exactly like a Rosaleen, but they had their similarities. She was more open though. Gincy [my nanny] was like my Mom’s bestfriend.
Going on, for those years I was alone, I learned how to stuff my face with ice-cream popsicle sticks [to learn how to add, multiply and divide], think my Mom left me, and think my Dad was the greatest. Thinking now, he was so unfair. Is So Unfair. I didn’t talk to my Mom for a long time. Finally, I decided to talk to her.. It felt so good hearing her voice… It was so soothing. She sounded better. I mean, she sounded.. a bit happy. She told me she missed me.. Everytime my Mom called, my Dad would later ask me what she had said. Everytime I told him, he’d tell me she was a liar -She’s just trying to get me from him. I was so confused. I didn’t know who to believe.. I didn’t know the reason why she left me. I wanted answers, and yet I was young and naive to learn the truth.
I was at the age of 8, when a passport was signed by me. I was at the age of 8, when I left for America. I left my Father behind with all the money my Mom sent for me, that my Dad used for his stupid car, his stupid girlfriends, and I guess, my unknowingly little sister. I left everything behind, even the big box I stuffed my face with full of my Mom’s pictures, her pretty letters, and the pretty things she bought me.
I was headed for America.
I was in to set my feet on the ground my Mom has stepped on.
There she was. Blooming. So beautiful.
She didn’t leave me after all..
All those years, she held my dirty clothes and hugged them.
All those years, she worked so hard to get us here.
All those years, she was hoping, praying to God I was alright..
All those years, she Did love me…
Learning the truth hurt me so much, anger and resentment to my Father steamed up in my blood. I felt just like Lily did. I take her quote for this:
“People, in General, would rather die than forgive. It’s That hard. If God said in plain language, ‘I’m giving you a choice, forgive or die,’ a lot of people would go ahead and order their coffin.”
When I read this part, I paused and asked myself, if God did ask you that, would you forgive.. or die? It’s a very absurd question, in my situation, but I answered myself anyway.
I would FORGIVE.
I forgive my Father for all he did, but I will NEVER forget all he’s done to the family. I love him, but for now, I just love him enough to tell him he’s my Father, but I don’t love him “enough” to go back and live with him instead. Noway.
I remember copying my Mom’s pictures when she was Miss Baguio in Philippines. She was so beatiful. She is.. I wore her heels and I woke her clothes. I dragged them on the floor while looking at myself in the mirror. I smeared her lipstick on my lips and tried to smear it on my cheeks to make my face rosy [not very successful]. Everyday, I’d talk about my Mommy, even though I had doubt in her. I feel like.. I just read about myself. Lily reminds me of myself when I wanted to run away because I was so tired of wondering and feeling stupid.
And she reminds me of myself when I found myself with my Mother in my heart again…
I’m so happy to have my Mother beside me… I never expected my life to turn out like this. Wearing her clothes, using her comb, using her shoes, and sitting in her car..
So many little things like these just make my world go round.
A lot of us people forget how wonderful little things can make us happy, but when you look into it and think about it..
God.. how lovely this world can be…
Reading a fairytale can change you a whole lot. Reading anything and seeing everything gives you a moral.
Everything in the world gives us a different moral in life. A different perspective.
In my world, the one thing I learned in here isn’t about bees, but about the thoughts swirling in our head. Not everything in the world seems to be what it looks like. Not everything in the world is what we think it is. Not everything in our head is wrong..
Take my quote:
Life is nothing but hope and trust.
If you face the world with what is killing you, you will learn that it isn’t so bad after all..
You just gotta jot it down.
Plant a seed in your heart, and let it grow our to reach people’s hearts…
Just like our Mother Mary did.
I don’t know how to start out with this book. I don’t know how to blog it out… I don’t know Where to Start… This’ll be a long one guys.. I’m sorry. Just spare with my long comment, okay? I hope you guys read it.. It’s very special to me.. to share it out with you folks.. I know a lot of my friends are in this, and I know you guys will read it [sure you will] and feel it with me.. Okay, here it goes…. [next blog.]
This is not a book about racism, it’s about love of all kinds being found in the unexpected of places.
How would you describe Lily in the beginning of the story? Would you use words such as desperate, miserable, or even insecure? Could you explain why you described her that way?
Do you think that Lily expected too much of what her mother was? Can this explain why she had the tantrum after hearing the truth from August? And can you answer why she might have thought of her mother that way?
i was happy at the end when T-Ray saw that Lily was better of living with the “Calender Sisters” it was a very mature and grown-up decision.
Martha Whites are the name of the grits he used to punish her
In response to Alejandra M.M.’s question about Rosaleen as a mother, I do feel that Lily can’t really consider Rosaleen as a mother because she hasn’t taken care of her for her entire life. She did have a mother but it would be kind of hard to just drop one and pick up another so easily. But i do believe that Lily is very close to Rosaleen in a family sort of way.
reading the book on how T-Ray dealt with Lily made me think on how there is really men out there that hurt females like that, though he was taking the aggressions of his wife’s death out on her it is still unacceptable.
what do Y’all
What are “Martha Whites”?
I know they are some form of punishment worse than “grits”, but Sue Monk Kidd never says what they really are.
I agree with both Jonathan’s and Ernie’s answer to Olivia’s question, but I would also like to add my view to it. Even though Lily is too old to be throwing a tantrum, you can’t help but feel sorry for her. All her life, even when she was younger, she could never throw a tantrum for fear of being punished, most likely severely. Even though a tantrum is immature whether you’re little or a teenager, it is usually expected out of a young child. I think that Lily’s years wre just catching up with her at that point.
I just finished this book and I thought it was great. It is informative even though it is fiction. It opens our eyes even more to the severity of racial discrimination. Yes, we all know what it is, but I don’t think many of us take into account what this sort of behavior can and has done to the nation. We still have racial discrimination, all though it is not as bad as it was before the Civil Rights Movement, just in different forms, as well many other forms of discrimination. Lots of people have tried to discourage this kind of behavior; look at what has happened to them.
Answering Jonathan J.P. i think Lily did stop the abuse of her family because T.Ray was mostly mad when his wife left him. In the story it says that he did adore his wife and maybe he just let all the pain out on Lily.
To answer Breana.A.S. question most likely Lily and Zach did stay together but it was probably hard because of all the predigest.
Why does Lily feel like she doesn’t have a mother if Rosaleen (even if it isn’t in the most affectionate way) has always been taking care of her?
In the story every time May hears of anything sad she starts humming “Oh Susannah”, and if it’s really bad she starts crying and goes out to the wall. How is it possible to go through so much pain that you just get confused with what’s happening to yourself?
To try to clarify Breana A.S.’s thought/question thing, I don’t think that Zach and Lily ever get together but do become and remain good friends. The reason I say that I don’t think they get together is because the issues they would have, somebody could get hurt. That’s just in my unanimity, though.
In the story Lily found herself in love with August’s godson Zach. The author never mentioned if they ever got together. I wonder if they ever did?
In response to Alejandra’s question I would NOT stay with an abusive father. My reason would be because if he gets angry quickly and everything I do makes him angry he might do something very drastic and he could kill me.
I agree with Olivia because Lily ran away to get away from her abusive father and because she was some how called to August’s Home.
I thought this book was very interesting. At first I thought it was boring because I didnt really understand Lily’s problem. It was until the story went on that I finally realized what was happening. I felt sorry for Lily because she was carrying the burden of accidentally killing her mother.
I understand where Jonathan is coming from, saying that the part about the grits was confusing. I was confused by it at first, but once I thought about it, it made sense. When you say something is gritty, you’re saying that it has the texture of something like sand or salt. I don’t know if it is related in any way, but grits DO have the consistency of sand, making them gritty.
In response to Jonathan J. P.’S question, I do believe that the grits that Lily was forced to kneel on were breakfast (and for some like my sister), lunch and dinner food. If you look towards the middle of the book she says that after she’s been kneeling on them her whole life she doesn’t much care to eat them.
Question for ya. Apparently, life is all good and dandy when Lilys at August’s house. Why would she go and mess it up by calling T.Ray? I wouldn’t give his mean behind the time of day.
I ain’t even gonna lie, this book was the Bizzness (correctly spelled: buisness)! When I first read the title of this book i felt like “well dang, reading this isn’t gonna go to well”. Surprisingly i found myself reading this book more than anything else until I FINALLY finished it.
In response to Derek’s question about T.ray’s intentions when he showed up at August’s house, he wasn’t really interested into where Rosaleen was compared to the fact that he finally found Lily and planned to “skin her hide”. T.Ray probably wasn’t thinking about Rosaleen and her issues, but instead Lily and the issues he’s gonna give her. Telling on Rosaleen wasn’t the main priority at that particular moment. . . or any other moment after that i’m guessing. For the second half of this question I would have to admit that I, too, was a little shocked that one single teenager who’s not even that high on the teen age charts yet would be able to bust a big “negro” woman out of a hospital with a gaurd sitting right in front of the flippin door. I mean “WHAT THE HECK”! Well anyway, its really a simple answer. . . in my opinion, of course. Lily just made a well thought- out plan and went with it, and surprisingly it worked out perfectly, timing and all.
This book suprised me. At first, I thought this was going to be the run-of-the-mill book about discovery, but the book proved otherwise.
In response to Amylee’s question about T-ray’s character and “grits torture”, I was curious. I went through my kitchen looking for grits but didn’t find any, so I figured a small, hard, grainy substance would be similar. So my mom poured it out on the sidewalk and let me kneel in it. I only lasted 5 seconds and it made me think of what a cold-hearted person T-ray would have to be to make a little girl kneel in that for way longer than I did. I wonder if he realized the pain he was inflicting on his daughter and if his mind inflicting pain on others took some of his pain away.
Based on how the story ended, do you think Lilly had the support and strength to break the cycle of abuse in her family?
In response to Olivia K. D.’s question:
Even though she has had a rough life I do not think that it gives her an excuse to throw temper tantrums because if she is old enough and “mature” enough to do a selfless thing such as saving Rosaleen’s life by breakin her out of the hospital, she should have enough self control to not have to lash out in such anger.
When T-ray had Lilly kneel on grits, are those the kind of grits that you eat, or they a totally different thing? I think that was the only really confusing part of the whole book…
Although this book was suprisingly depressing, I truely admire the way Sue Monk Kidd writes and the way she puts so much detail into everything she writes like the way she described Lilly’s knees after T-ray had her kneel on those grits.
In response to Ernie S.A I think if I found out my mom left me I would be furious, but then If I found out she came to get me I would forgive and forget. It seemed that Lily acted like her mom didnt care about her.
What I want to know is why didn’t T.Rey tell on Rosaleen when he came over, and how did Lily, a teenager, sneak an African American women out of a hospital?
In response to Ernie S.A when T.Rey said, “Good Ridance!” I think he meant it beacause he said in a way as if he was through with the situation.
This was a really good book the way Lily went around like Sherlock Holmes trying to find out about her mom and what happened to her. What I really want to know is when T. Rey said, “Good Ridance!” did he ever come back to see her.
I agree with Charisse M. S. If i were Lily, I wouldn’t have been mad at my mom for leaving me.Sure, maybe I would have been a little upset, but what could you do? Its in the past, you can’t do anything about it. Besides, how could you be mad at the person who’s life you took away by accident.
In response to Olivia K. D. question, I think that she shouldn’t have thrown the jars and have the tantrum.What good does that tantrum do for anybody?!?! That was pretty immature of her.
When T-Ray said,”Good riddance”, to Lily after he allowed her to stay, do you think he honestly meant it?I don’t think that he meant it.I agree with what Lily said.He does really care about her.
If I were Lily,I probably would have ran away to.The way T-Ray treated her was very abusive.T-Ray treated Lily the way he did because he was still mad at Deborah.He saw so much of Deborah in Lily.
I consider both of Amylee M.M. and Stephanie A.T. said about not running away, and I agreed with them at first. But then I thought about it for a while and I realized I would have been running for a reason. The reason Lily ran away was not only because her father was abusive, but it was so Lily could find her mother (not literary but spiritually). I believe another big part it was to give Rosaleen freedom. She had Rosaleen on the trip with her, so at least didn’t go on her own.
When i was reading the book I felt that some of the things Lily did were somewhat immature. For example when she through all the honey jars at the wall because she was mad at her mom for leaving her. Then I thought well she has been through many struggles in her life especially considering her age, and how maybe it’s not her fault. But is that really a good way to handle it? I don’t blame her at all for being mad, but should she really throw a temper tantrum like she is 4? What do you guys think?
I agree with Jennifer N., the author got me hooked. Each character had their own unique personality.
I agree with Rebecca D., I thought that a book about bees didn’t seem that appealing to me. My mom read it before me and said it was a good book, when I finished reading it I loved it. it my favorite book out the three books for required reading.
Stephanie A.T. I have a question for you. You say that you would not have run away from T. Ray being in that situation but you wouldnt forgive him or give him another chance either. Would you risk staying there and giving him the chance to find you and probably treat you worse? Wouldn’t you want to get as far away as possible?
I think that is what I would do. After being treated that way. Especially with his temper after finding away that ive run away he would be even more angry. I would want to go as far as I can before I can feel like i actually have a chance to breathe.
I totally agree with Amylee about the T. Ray situation. It is not surprising at all that T. Ray used to be a nice person. everybody has a reason for why they act a certain way. T. Ray was just feeling hurt and lonely and his way of deeling with it was to become mean and try to forget about it. I think that he is scared that it is going to happen to him again.
I found it very inspiringthat Lily didn’t care what police officers and her father thought about her staying with August. Most of our peers only care about how things will reflect on them, however Lily didn’teven give thought to the fact that August and her siblings were a diferent color than herself.
I loved this book. I believe that Lily was very daring and courageous to try to find a new home based on writing on the back of a honey jar lable
I agree with Amylee. I wasn’t surprised about T-Ray being once different. After Deborah tried to leave him, he was heartbroken and mad. Her leaving made a huge impact on him because she was the one he loved and worshiped. He would never let that go. So, he becomes calloused and cruel towards his daughter because she looked just like her mother, and he treated Lily the way he would’ve treated Deborah if she was still alive and had failed to leave him alone.
If I was Lily, I would have never been mad at my mother for leaving me in the first place. She tried to come back to get me and that’s what would have mattered the most. I’d understand my mother’s feelings of leaving in the first place. Lily just took the situation of her mom’s leaving her behind too seriously. If she knew why her mother needed to leave, she would have been more understanding.
If I was Lily, I would have sacrificed the bitter rejection from others in order to be with the one I loved because if I found the one I loved, nothing around me would worry me. Just as long as I’m with him, that’s what matters the most.
If you were Lily, would you have tried to help Rosaleen, a Black woman, escape from jail during a time where so many Whites were racist against Blacks? Why or Why not?
I think that Lily really didn’t overreact with the news of her mother. What’s worse than hearing your mother doesn’t love you? Although, she did find out later that her mother did love her.
I know Lily and Zach were different races and they loved eachother. But why didn’t Lily or Zach do something more to help them have a relationship? Lily was abused by her father, she ran away, and she refused to go back with her father. And Zach is going to a white school! I mean, couldn’t they fix one more dilemma?
If I had a father like T. Ray I probably would’ve done the exact same thing she did, run away. The only thing I would’ve changed was that I probably would’ve known where I was going…I know she didn’t have a mother, but she didn’t have any close aunts or uncles? Even grandparents?
At first I chose this as the first book for me to read because it didn’t look that interesting. But now that I’ve actually read it and taken it all in I’ve decided that I shouldn’t have judged the book by its cover. I love drama books and this book is full of drama! From Lily and Rosaleen being fugatives to Lily and Zach’s interracial romance. I absolutely loved this book.
Lily and Zach’s relationship turned out to be a blossoming romance. Zach told her that they could not be together because of the colors of their skin and the harsh treatment that they both would get from others. Would you have sacraficed the bitter rejection from others in order to be with the one that you love? Why or why not?
When Lily found out the truth about her mother, she was devastated. She went and through a fit and made a bigger mess out of an already difficult situation. I believe that she may have overreacted a little bit. Do you think that Lily overreacted? Do you believe that there may have been a better way of handling the news that she had recieved?
If I were in Lily’s place, I don’t think that I would give my father another chance either. I am usually a person who holds grudges, and even though that is not always a good thing, it helps me out sometimes. Also I don’t believe that T. Ray would have been any different to Lily. I am proud of her for not going back with the man who made her life somewhat a living Hell.
If I had a father like T. Ray, who had abused me in the ways that he did Lily, I don’t think that I would have ran away, especially if I had no idea of where I was going or where I would end up. I may have tried to find a family friend to tell my story to and see if they would let me stay with them for awhile. And if that didn’t work than I would go to the cops and to see what they could do to help me.
I think that I would miss the bees, August, Rosaleen, and June but I don’t know if I would regret not giving my dad another chance…would you give your father a second chance if you were in Lily’s place? Do you think that by affection your dad would change towards you?
I think that it is very brave to do what is right even if the whole world is against you. At the end, you will see that what you did was right and that everyone would see that your intensions were not harmful. Even if the whole world doesn’t see that what you did was correct, all that matters is that you followed your heart and took the decision that you thought was the best.
I agree with Morgan… I thought that Lily would find a way for them to be together but it doesn’t actually say anything like that. I think that for them to be near each other would be enough for Lily. Also, it is true about T. Ray being rude and so angry but he did have a lot of pain. It’s just a characteristic that you get after so much bad things in your life, don’t you think?
I think that this book was amazing. It is inspiring to read about a young girl going for what she wants despite her surroundings.
I did think that the book was boring in the beginning but as I continued reading it did get interesting. In the beginning, I didn’t understand what was really going on, but after they took Rosaleen and Lily to jail I finally understood what was happening. My favorite character in the story would probably have to be T. Ray. Although he was the antagonist of the story, I felt that he had a lot of pain to deal with. For one, he had lost the woman of his dreams, Deborah, and two he had no idea how to deal with a daughter. But at the end of the book he did a complete turn around by letting Lily stay with August.
One of my questions about the story was if Zach and Lily were together? In the end of the book it does say that they ended up going to the same school and kids in the school would tease here about liking Zach, but it never actually states that Lily and Zach were together. Although, them being different races meant that they couldn’t be together, I thought that Lily’s determination would find a way for her and Zach to be together.
In response to Morgan C.L.G.
I think Lily and Zack did get together because of the type of person Lily is, she’s not the type of person to get caught up in what other people think.
I would describe Lily and Zach’s relationship as loving and desiring each other, but knowing that they could never openly be together. I think what drew them together was their common goal to branch out from their troubled childhoods. Lily’s mother had died when she was very young and she then had to endure the abuse of her father, and Zach had always had to live with the abuse of the whites
In the end of the book, when Rosaleen earns the right to vote, was indeed not likely at all to happen at the time. People were very racist at the time and even the fact that an African American person believed they had the right to vote angered many white people at the time.
If I were abused as Lily was I don’t think I would take it to the extreme as to run away. I would have tried to locate a relative or friend where I knew I would be safe and had a place to stay. I would have thought of Mary as my replacement mother even though she was a statue. Lily was not really referring to the statue as her mother, but more the spirit and hope that came along with the statue.
When I learned that T. Ray was once different, I was not surprised. As life took its toll on T.ray, he learned to deal with the pain by becoming callous and cold. When his wife left him, all his sadness and anger was taken out on others around him, especially on Lily because she was so much like her mother.
Freshmen Summer Reading Response:
After reading the novel I was hooked on how the author created such powerful characters and an incredible story line. The story line touched several themes but the one I feel reached me the most was ‘Courage’- the ability to do what is right even if the whole world is against you.
Does anyone have any thoughts?
This book talks about how Lilly runs away from home because of the way her father abuses her. Would you have done the same if your parents abused you? Also,in this book it talks about how Lilly’s “replacement mother” was Mary,a statue representing freedom. Would you have thought of Mary as your “replacement mother” knowing that she is a statue?
This book talks about how Lilly lived with “colored people” and how that she soon accepts their traditions. She also learns that no matter what the color of their skin,people can live,work,and love each other. I think this book helped me understand that no matter what we think,the color of our skin,religion, traditions, we can live in harmony as one family.
Mrs. W.,thank you soo much for suggesting this book for the A.P. summer homework,I really enjoyed this book.
Anyways,this book shows the hardship of Lilly’s childhood and how she escapes the hardship by running away with Rosaleen to a new city and a home belonging to August. There she discovers life in a whole new perspective.