A few years ago I saw the movie 'The Secret Life of Bees". The acting was excellent and the story empowering. That is, until I read the book. I picked up the paperback for $1.50 at the library and it was the best $1.50 I ever spent. The novel hit a nerve because it deals with universal themes that include the relationship between mothers and daughters, feelings of being unloved because of past wrongs, and love. An underlying theme throughout the book is that family is not always who you are related to and that love can be found anywhere and is everywhere.
"The world will give you that once in awhile, a brief timeout; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where somebody dabs mercy on your beat-up life" Sue Monk Kidd from "The Secret Life of Bees"
The four main characters, the Boatwright sisters, and Rosaleen represented the themes the book chose to represent. August Boatwright exemplified how to find love and strength within yourself. June Boatwright was afraid to love because she was afraid to be hurt and afraid to live because she was afraid to fail. May Boatwright was an innocent and felt pain when others were not being true to themselves. Therefore, the weight of the sorrows of the world fell on her. Rosaleen who became July Boatwright exemplified the lack of fear when you were true to your heart and acted on what you believed in.
The narrator Lily could not forgive herself for her past wrongs and believed the reason she was not loved was because of her faults. She equated imperfection with the reasons for being unloved. Lily eventually comes to realize that being love is not something you have to earn but a gift you receive and deserve no who you are or what you have done in the past.
To be loved means to be yourself. "It's your time to live, don't mess it up" Sue Monk Kidd from "The Secret Life of Bees"
In the end, a Sophisticate knows "The Secret Life of Bees" because she knows that she must look inside to her own heart for love and strength. An empowering and safe feeling since that means that all she looks for in life has already been given. The story explores what it means for a Sophisticate to be a mother, to be human, and more importantly, to be strong enough within her heart and in her actions to be love with no fear, imperfections and all.