The Secret Life of Bees, written by Sue Monk Kidd, is a story about a young girl named Lily, who has grown up most of her life without a mother. While living with her father T. Ray, Lily is punished and treated like she is garbage leading her to run away so she can find the truth about her mother. Lily’s mother Deborah was killed when Lily was still a young baby, never know how she really died or how she was killed.
The story takes place in South Carolina in 1964, during the civil rights era. When Lily runs away she ends up in Tiburon, South Carolina with Rosaleen who is like a mother to her and has been taking care of Lily since Lily’s mother died. When she arrives at Tiburon, Lily and Rosaleen meets May, June, and August, who offer them a place to live and jobs.
The bees that the Boatwright sisters own attract Lily to them because it helps her relate with her dead mother and give her signs that she is there watching her showing her that she is looking over her.
When working with the bees, Lily meets a young African American boy named Zach that she later begins to get feeling for not know that there could be consequences. The Bees are a big part of the story that help Lily feel like her mother is giving her signals to help her in life. The Boatwright sisters change Lily in many ways and help her become a woman who loves herself and cares about herself something she had not felt in a long time.
At first Lily feels guilty, unlovable, neglected, and abandoned because she grew up without a mother and a terrible father that would treat her like she didn’t exist. T. Ray the father, never gave her the feeling of love and happiness. The Boatwright sisters have a big impact in changing the way Lily acts and feels about herself because they accept her as a part of the family something Lily felt she never had when living with T. Ray. As Lily and Rosaleen stay with the sisters, August one of the Boatwright sisters gave Lily a job as a beekeeper that brings them closer and helps Lily feel the feeling of love, “That’s terrible thing for you to live with. But you’re not unlovable, even if you did accidentally kill her, you are still the most dear, most lovable girl I know.” August keeps Lily filled with love and happiness and helps her forgive what T. Ray had done when she was living with him. Since the death of Lily’s mother Lily had never forgave herself for what she had done, but August helps Lily to forgive herself and not live without forgiveness like she did in the past.
The first time Lily met June Boatwright she was mean and didn’t want her to stay and live with them until the day they had a water fight bringing them closer then what Lily had expected “She let go and sprawled back on the grass in convulsions of laughter. I plopped down next to her and laughed, too. We could not stop.” Even though Lily and June see eye to eye, yet June teaches Lily that she can never give up on anything no matter how hard it is because Lily never gave up on making June love her and all it took was a water fight.