*Note: First appeared on Quail Bell Magazine June 28th, 2015. Image by Andi Chrisman.
The Secret Life of Bees is a favorite among book clubs and English classes for its themes of motherhood, spirituality, and racial tension during the Civil Rights Era. But the book also addresses problems we still see today: hidden biases.
Though Lily, the fourteen year-old white protagonist, has grown up with her black mother-figure Rosaleen and is considerably kinder to her than her father T. Ray, she still falls victim to the thinking of her time. When she meets August, one of the three beekeeper sisters that Lily and Rosaleen find in Tiburon, SC, she is shocked to discover that August is in fact, very intelligent and well-read.