Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book Reviews: The Secret Life of Bees AND The Lovely Bones

The Secret Life of BeesThe Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book held mixed reviews from what I could tell.  I personally enjoyed it.  I felt it was well-written and easy to read but compelling.  The symbolism of the life of bees and life was well-woven throughout the book.  I didn't particularly care for the ideology of the black virgin Mary and what it was used for in the book, although clinging to a religion for a higher purpose in life is clearly something many people do.  I also didn't like some of the graphic description of everyday things, like peeing and chewing/spitting tobacco.  For me, those distracted from the real writing.

There were some passages which I enjoyed in particular or at least gave me food for thought.  The first was when August and Lily are talking and August is telling Lily about some of her life.  Lily asks August if she ever got married.  Lily asks: "But you didn't love him enough to marry him?" August replies: "I loved him enough...I just loved my freedom more." I felt that was kind of a sad notion that unfortunately many people have fallen for.

Another part was when August is telling Lily about the painting of the house.  She talks about how some things in life don't matter much, like painting a house a certain color, but how people are what really matter.  I have to agree with this concept and it made me reflect on how I treat people and how often I distinguish what really matters from what doesn't.

Overall, I feel that if I gained something positive from the book, it was worth the read.  I liked the book, I gained something from it, it made me reflect on life. 

The Lovely BonesThe Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I did enjoy this book. The whole book is written from the interesting perspective of the girl who was murdered, Susie Salmon. I felt that was an interesting perspective to take for a whole book. This included the author's idea of the afterlife, which I found somewhat fascinating. Definitely different than my idea of heaven. I found it frustrating that the characters were never able to catch the man who murdered her. It sort of did not give closure. Although I do like how it kind of didn't matter in Sebold's view of heaven, that everything worked itself out and things like that were common knowledge in heaven.

The book was pretty clean, but I have to admit that I despair that authors these days think they have to add the sexual content to make people interested in reading a book. I felt that the book could have been complete without the small amount of sexual content, really only one or two scenes. I felt them unnecessary to the plot entirely, just there for the people who seem to need it.

I don't think I would necessarily recommend this book, but it was, for the most part, enjoyable to read.

View all my reviews


Jen said...

I really liked "The Secret Life of Bees" as well. You would probably also enjoy "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" by Beth Hoffman.

swedemom said...

I haven't ever read The Secret Life of Bees. I started The Lovely Bones but just couldn't finish it. I couldn't stand the thought of the girl being raped and then murdered, and that they went into enough graphic detail that I had a hard time letting it go.

Oddly enough, while there is a lot I can tolerate in a book, I absolutely cannot tolerate sexual abuse or what was described in this book. I just can't stomach it. It disturbs me to much.

Royalbird said...

I personally didn't think it was too graphic in the description of the crime. I've read other books (which I ended up not finishing) where non-crime sex scenes were much more graphic. I was actually expecting it to be much worse than it was. However, I perhaps have developed a tolerance for this type of thing because I love to watch crime shows--we watch Criminal Minds and Law & Order SVU every week and record it when we're not home to watch them.


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