Book #6 (July) – The Secret Life of Bees

** I’ve started a new Facebook-based book club! Learn more HERE.**

This month’s book is: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Summary (by

Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory – the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Since then, her only real companion has been the fierce-hearted, and sometimes just fierce, black woman Rosaleen, who acts as her “stand-in mother.”

When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it’s time to spring them both free. They take off in the only direction Lily can think of, toward a town called Tiburon, South Carolina – a name she found on the back of a picture amid the few possessions left by her mother.

There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Maternal loss and betrayal, guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most.

Discussion Questions (Warning: Spoiler’s Ahead!):

Before Reading:

1. What comes to mind when reading the title of the story? When seeing the cover?

2. What expectations do you have for this story?

Chapter One:

3. What might Lily be longing for while she watches the bees?

4. Lily calls her father T. Ray instead of “Daddy.” What does this say about their relationship?

5. Should Lily feel guilty for the death of her mother, why or why not?

6. Describe the relationship between Lily and Rosaleen.

7. Why do you think T. Ray’s version of the day his wife died is slightly different than Lily remembers it? Who’s version could be right?

Chapter Two:

8. If you were Lily, would you have run away and gotten Rosaleen out of jail?

9. Another version of the day Lily’s mother died is told to Lily. Do you think T. Ray is making these stories up to punish Lily? What do you think really happened on that day?

10. Do you think Rosaleen will become a motherly figure to Lily later in the story? In what ways is she acting like one now?

Chapter Three:

11. A voice tells Lily that her “jar is open.” What might this mean?

12. What is the significance of the Black Madonna?

Chapter Four:

13. What is your first impression of August, May and June? Why do you think August was so quick to let Rosaleen and Lily stay with them?

14. What might be the purpose of the wall with the pieces of paper stuck in it?

Chapter Five:

15. Why do you think June is so against Lily and Rosaleen staying at the house with them?

16. Do you like the idea of a wailing wall? Do you wear your heart on your sleeve like May?

17. When Lily gets the hiccups, Rosaleen tells her to hold her breath, pat her head, and rub her tummy. Just out of curiosity, how do you get rid of your hiccups?

Book Club Discussion #1: Which character can you relate to so far, and why?

Chapter Six:

18. Why do you think June won’t get married?

19. Explain your thoughts on the scene where Lily is about to touch Mary’s heart. How do you feel about Lily’s realization that she is not like the others?

Chapter Seven:

20. Why do you think Lily and Zach become friends despite their differences? Do you think true love can overcome these differences?

Chapter Eight:

21. Should Lily have called T. Ray? Why might she have called him?

22. Do you feel that knowing someone’s favorite color proves that they care about or love that person?

Book Club Discussion #2: If you could have your own special month like the Calendar Sisters, which month would you choose and why?

Discussion Project #1: Create your own acrostic poem like Lily did for DADDY using the letters in your first name. To learn how to write an acrostic poem, click here.

Chapter Nine:

23. Why might June have learned to love Lily?

24. Did Zach do the right thing by not telling the man who threw the coke bottle?

25. Why was May so distraught over the news of Zach? How did she react differently with this news than with other news?

Chapter Ten:

26. Why might May have chosen to end her life? Was her death in any way foreshadowed earlier in the story or inevitable?

27. Remembering earlier in the story when Rosaleen mentioned that bees swarm before death, was there any connection between the bees and May’s death?

28. What lesson should readers take from May’s suicide letter?

Chapter Eleven:

29. At this point in the story, do you feel Lily has officially become part of the Boatwright’s family? Why do you feel that she has or has not?

Chapter Twelve:

30.Do you think Lily has a right to hate her mother for leaving her? Do you think Deborah was wrong to leave her daughter?

31. If Lily wasn’t Deborah’s daughter, do you think August would have let her stay with them at the pink house?

Chapter Thirteen:

32. Why might Deborah have underlined the poem by William Blake? What is the meaning of the poem? How does it compare to Deborah?

Chapter Fourteen:

33. Is Lily right – generally, would people rather die than forgive? Was it harder for Lily to forgive herself or her mother?

34. Why did T. Ray call out Deborah’s name while yelling at his daughter?

35. Do you think T. Ray truly cared for Lily in some way by letting her stay with August and her family?

36. In what ways was August sort of like the Black Madonna? Was she truly the mother of thousands?

37. How did being in the company of the calender sisters and the Daughters of Mary transform Lily?

Other Questions:

38. Who is the queen bee in this story?

39. Who was your favorite character and why?

Discussion Project #2: Let’s think about the future of the characters. Does Lily see her father again? Does she become a beekeeper or writer? What happens to Rosaleen? Lily and Zach?

Book Club Dare #1: Watch the movie, “The Secret Life of Bees.” Which do you prefer better, the movie or the book? Why?

40. Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Want to help save honey bees? Here are a few links to get you started:

You can help the Honey Bees with Haagen- Dazs Ice Cream. Use this website for more information, and for printables and games.

Learn more with PBS, and watch the episode “Silence of the Bees”

Join the hunt for bees! Sign up for the Great Sunflower Project.

Learn more about Colony Collapse Disorder with Burt’s Bees.


39 responses to “Book #6 (July) – The Secret Life of Bees

  1. 1.) When I saw the cover of the book and read the title, I thought it might be about honey bees making honey.
    2.) I expect the book to be a very good read, especially after reading the summary of the book.

  2. 1. A bee around the honey, that could be dangerous if you don’t pay attention
    2. I expect the story to be exciting.

  3. 1. The first thing that comes in to my mind is that it must be a story about bees!
    2. After reading the summary I expect it to be a story of love. After reading The Help I’m really interested in these kind of stories.

  4. 3. I think she is longing for affection, since she is missing her mom and hasn’t got a good relationship with her dad.
    4. I think she doesn’t really see him as a dad, since he is not being a real dad to her.
    5. I don’t think so. I think there is more to the story.
    6. I think she sees Rosaleen as a second mother, since she is the one who cares about Lily.
    7. I think Lily’s version is probably more right than T. Ray’s. Although I think he is trying to hide something and maybe he even killed her mom.

  5. 1. Well, I’ve read this book already a few years ago, but I think when I first saw the cover, I thought it may have something to do with bees!
    2. It had so many good reviews, that I expected it to be a very good, moving story.
    3. I think she is longing for the freedom they have.
    4. It shows that she doesn’t really think of him as a loving father.
    5. No, she was only four years old.
    6. I think she is the closest thing to a mother that she has.
    7. I think T. Ray is trying to make her remember it a certain way. Like he’s taking advantage of the fact that she was so young and probably doesn’t remember that well.

  6. 1. I have already seen the movie. So I knew it was about a girl who ended up with three sisters on a bee farm. It tells about secrets and who has all kind of secrets.

    2. I hope the book is just as impressive as the movie has been. I really liked it. So I am looking forward to read the book.

  7. 3. The bees are free to fly wherever they want to fly. I think Lilly is longing for that same freedom.

    4. There is a lot of distance between Lilly and T Ray. I don’t think she feels loved by him.

    5. No I don’t think she is to blame. Lilly was so young. I think she even doesn’t remember or realized what happened.

    6. Rosaleen is Lilly’s caretaker. Lilly sees her as a second mother.

    7. I think the version of Lilly is right. I think T Ray is hiding the truth for Lilly. They both have their own version of the accident. Maybe they are blaming each other.

  8. 8. I would have tried. But I am not sure I would do it like Lilly. I think I would be to afraid for T Ray or the consequences.

    9. I think T Ray is lying to Lilly. I think it is some sort of punishment of T Ray to make her belief she is guilty of it. I think it has been an accident. Lilly found the gun and shove across the floor to her mother. Then it went of and killed Lilly’s mother. Lilly didn’t shoot her mom.

    10. No I don’t think so. She loves Lilly and takes care of her. She feeds and does the chores around the house. But she doesn’t always understand Lilly. And some understanding of her dreams and feelings is what Lilly needs. Lilly has her secrets for Rosaleen. Lilly doesn’t open up to Rosaleen.

  9. 11. When the jar is open the bees in it can fly away. I think it is a sign for Lilly that she is free to go and fly away. It think the voice gives Lilly somekind of strength or sign that she is free to find her mother and dreams.

    12. The black Madonna is the clue for Lilly to help the search to her mothers story. It also gives Lilly the strength to go on the search amd find the way.

  10. 13. They live and work together in their own system. It is like the bee system. Everybody has her own job and they work together. They also have their little secrets and things and up to a certain level they share it with each other. I think August recognized Lilly and that’s why she could stay so easily.

    14. The wall keeps the secrets and sorrow of May. Whatever is in May’s head or thoughts she can trust and leave it in the wall. And maybe this is also something the other sister can use.

  11. 1. When I see the cover I think of bees and beekeepers.
    2. I already watched the movie, so I except the book to be as good as the movie was. To be emotional and touching, too.

    3. She’s longing for freedom and the ability to fly away.
    4. I’d say there is not relationship. Not like there should be at least.
    5. I don’t think she should feel guilty. She didn’t mean to do it.
    6. I think Rosaleen is a mother figure for Lily, which is good for her to have.
    7. I think his version is different because he doesn’t want her to know the truth. He is obviously telling her it was an “accident” so he didn’t get taken to jail for something.

    8. I probably would have run away, but it would have been too risky to break Rosaleen out of jail.
    9. I think he makes up everything just to be an ass.
    10. She already is a motherly figure, but I think she will have a great presence in Lily’s life.

    11. The voice tells her that it’s time for her to be free, like she let the bees free.
    12. The Black Madonna is what will bring Lily closer to her mother.

    13. I think they are nice ladies, and will become sort of an “adopted” family to Lily. I think August was quick to take her in because she either A) knows they are lying but wants to know why they came there, or B) thinks Lily reminds her of her mother.
    14. The wall is sort of like a “wailing wall” where May can write down all of her sorrows, and sort of put them away.

  12. 8. I think I might have, because in my opinion Rosaleen hasn’t anything done wrong.
    9. I think he is trying to cover up the real story and that is that he shot her mother.
    10. She always has been I think, since Lily missed her mother since she was very young.
    11. That she finally can do what she wants.
    12. The Black Madonna brings Lily closer to her mother.
    13. I really like the sisters. It is nice to see that they are so close. I think because she knows they are in trouble and maybe even recognized Lily.
    14. It is a place where May can put her thoughts to rest.
    15. Probably because doesn’t really trust the story Lily and Rosaleen are telling.
    16. I think it is a good way for May to handle her emotions. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve like May.
    17. I squeeze my nose and drink up one or two glasses of water quickly.

    Bookclub discussion #1:
    I think I can relate to Lily. I haven’t lost a parent luckily but I can feel her frustration every now and then.

  13. 1. I think of the care and upkeep of bees and how they make honey
    2. I expect the book to be good.
    3. she is longing for the same freedom the bees have
    4. I don’t think there is a real father/daughter relationship going on
    5. No she shouldn’t feel guilty as she was so young when it happened
    6. I think Rosaleen is like a substitute mother to her.
    7. I think his version is different is because he is hiding something but what Lily remembers is some of what is the truth.

  14. 1. Umm from the title and cover of course I thought it would have something to do with bees….but then I thought that would be kind of silly so it must be a metaphor or something.
    2. Well everyone I know is making fun of me for reading it…but I think it will be nice 🙂
    3. I think she wants to be able to come and go just like they do…fly away I guess.
    4. They don’t really have a strong relationship. I would never be allowed to call my dad some name like that, I don’t think I would want to either. It’s kind of sad though, that she doesn’t call him dad.
    5. No!! That is just something you can not control. I mean I know it’s natural to feel guilt but at a certain point she would need to know that she loved her mom and would never do such a thing on purpose. It was just a horrible freak accident 😦
    6. They have a really sweet relationship 🙂 Rosaleen is like the mother Lily did not get to grow up with, I’m glad they have eachother.
    7. I think he is for sure hiding something. He got very defensive at the subject. My theory is that they Lily’s mom was planning on running away from him with Lily which caused their fight. I also want to believe the gun Lily picked up didn’t cause her mom’s death…..I don’t like T. Ray 😦
    8. I think I would. Her life at home would be absolutely unbearable without Rosaleen since she is the one who actually loves Lily. Also Rosaleen did not deserve to be in jail!
    9. Oops. I think I answered this in question seven….I think he might have killed with another gun
    10. Yes 🙂 I think she is already a mom in that she helped when Lily had her period, how she did not leave her side at the creek, and how she defends her from T. Ray.
    11. I think it is saying this is Lily’s chance to finally be free. Her door is basically her life which is giving her an opportunity to escape the bad times.
    12. I’m not sure D: I think maybe Lily’s mom may have been raised by colored people or maybe she worked with August or something. This may have even been something that caused some sort of fight between Lily’s mom and T.Ray?? Hmmmm

  15. 8. I definetily would because of how close they are and because all she did was stand up for herself.
    9. I think he feels that ever since her mom’s death he is now forced to take care of her and that’s his way of letting her know he doesn’t really care about her.
    10. she already is and I think she will be an even greater influence in her life later.
    11. That she finally can be free to live her life.
    12. The Black Madonna helps her feel more of a connection to her mother.

  16. 15. I think June doesn’t want Lily to stay there because she is white and it might cause problems in the town if they knew Lily was staying at their house.

    16. The idea of the wailing wall is nice, but I wouldn’t want it in my own backyard.

    17. When I get them I wait it out. 🙂

    Book Club Discussion #1: I can relate to Lily because of the crap her parents put her through.

    18. I think she wont get married because her heart was broken before by another guy and she doesn’t want it broken again.

    19. I think she just wants to be a part of something, and feel wanted, and it’s hard considering she is the only white person there.

    20. They are both young kids and Lily is probably attracted to him because he is nice to her and she wants to feel loved by him. I think true love can overcome anything.

    21. I don’t think she should have called him. I mean, why bother talking to someone who doesn’t care?

    22. It depends. If they don’t know anything about you then, yes. Otherwise, I think it just proves they are paying attention if they know it.

    Book Club Discussion #2: Well I was born New Years Day, so I would like all of January to myself.

    Discussion Project #1:

  17. 18. I mean she is just afraid of being hurt again, it is kind of sad. I think she would be happy if she marries Neil….but he should stop bugging her about it so much!

    19. Awee!! I felt so bad at this part! I think June was being really unfair, considering the treatment her and her sisters probably get at the time from certain people becuase of the color of their skin, it is just lame of her to do the same thing to a little girl. I think Lily knows they are the same though.

    20. I think since they are both young and do the same type of work they just got along easily. I think love can overcome everything, they can be like Romeo and Juliet awee 🙂

  18. 3.) I think Lily is longing for a relationship with her father and if she shows him the bees are real then maybe he will show interest in her.

    4.) Lily calling her father by his first name shows that she sees him as just another person and not her father.

    5.) No, she should not feel guilty about the death of her mother because she was too young to understand that picking up a gun would kill her mother. It was an unfotuante accident.

    6.) Lily and Rosaleen have a sort of mother/daughter relationship, because Rosaleen takes care of Lily like her mother would have. Lily also looks to Rosaleen for guidance.

    7.) Both of the versions of the story are probably correct, because a child would remember things differently than an adult.

  19. 13. They are really nice ladies and I think they saw how much lily looks like her mother and that’s why they took her in
    14. I think all the sisters use the wall not just May and I think it’s mainly for sorrows but it’s also for other emotions.
    15. because she beleives Lily is lying and also because she’s white.
    16. The wailing wall is perfect for people like May. I’m not one to wear my heart on my sleeve.
    17. I do yoga breathing
    18. she afraid of getting hurt again
    19. she just wanted to be part of something
    20. they are both young and they see that they have stuff in common and I believe that true love can overcome any obsticle.

  20. 1. I think the story has to do with beekeeping, secrets from the past and similarities between the life of bees and humans. Bees make honey and this may refer to the fact that life can be bitter as a beesting and sweet as honey at the same time. The cover of Estonian version is utterly dull, but the cover picture on Your blog is much more interesting. It associates with warm memories, summer and home.
    2. I think it is a beautiful and touching story.
    3. She longs for caring and a real home. At the first time she also wants to get to her mother into paradise.
    4. Lily can’t think of T. Ray as a real father because he is cruel to her.
    5. She shouldn’t feel guilty at all because it was an accident and actually it was more T. Ray’s fault!
    6. Rosaleen is the only person Lily who truly cares about Lily after her mother’s death and the only person Lily truly cares about. Lily would like Rosallen to become her new mother.
    7. I think that Lily’s version is right and T. Ray lies to show himself in a better light.
    8. I think I would have because life with T. Ray and without Rosaleen would have been miserable. I also think Rosaleen didn’t deserve being imprisoned for what she did.
    9. I don’t exactly think T. Ray wants to punish Lily with those stories, but he wants to leave an impression that Lily’s mother didn’t love her because he doesn’t want Lily to idealise her mother. I think actually Lily’s mother came secretly to fetch her things to escape and take Lily with her, but T. Ray saw it and didn’t let her leave. Then they started arguing, T. Ray waved around with the gun in fury, threatening her wife, but he dropped it accidentally. Lily ran to take the gun to a safe place, but accidentally the gun went off and shot her mother.
    10. I think Rosaleen already is a motherly figure to Lily because she always protected her from T. Ray and she didn’t leave her when Lily wanted to run away alone at the creek. But I think Lily has to learn how to trust Rosaleen more, because she still thinks that Rosaleen is a bit stupid and can’t always behave well.
    11. It means that she is free to go and do what she peases, just like the bees who fly away from the jar.
    12. The Black Madonna is one of the few connections Lily has with her mother. The fact that she is black shows that all people deserve love despite their skin colour and other differences.
    13. I think they are lovely ladies and very interesting characters. I like the way how the stick together and care for each other. I think August senses that Lily has problems and she needs a place to stay and belong to.
    14. It is a place where May can leave her sorrows written down, just like the great wall in Jerusalem.
    15. She might think that somebody is looking for Lily and they will get into trouble for hiding her. She thinks that Lily might cause problems because she is white.
    16. I think sometimes we all need to let our sorrows out someway and the wailing wall is one option for doing it. I sometimes also worry for things that actually shouldn’t concern me. I get help when I talk about my sorrows to a friend or write them up in my diary. Talking or writing helps to clear the thoughts.
    17. I take a spoonful of sugar and sometimes it really helps. But here in Estonia we also have a fun game with hiccups: when you start hiccuping it is believed that someone is talking about you secretly. Then you start telling names of people you know to guess who it is. The name that „stops“ hiccuping is the person who talked about you this moment! 
    Book Club Discussion #1: I can relate to Lily because I also like reading and make up poems sometimes. And I can really understand her feelings as they are described so well. I sometimes worry about things like May, but of course not so extremely. I have teached English and history like June and I love music, but unfortunately I can’t play a musical instrument, only sing.

  21. 18. I think that June was heartbroken when her first guy didn’t turn up for the wedding ceremony and now she has problems trusting people (that might also be the reason why she is cross towards Lily!). She enjoys the relationship with Neil but she is afraid that when they got married the situation might change. She doesn’t want Neil to break her heart again.
    19. I think that Lily was truly touched by August’s story about the black Madonna, she was longing for love, peace and care and she wanted to belong with the others. Then suddenly she realised that she is not black and this might be the reason why coloured people don’t want her. This was so hard to bear that she fainted. I think it was mean of June to stop playing. Otherwise Lily might not have spotted any difference at all. In my opinion Lily is already wanted among the Daughters of Mary, June is the only person who can’t accept her.

  22. 21. I don’t think she should have called him…but if she hadn’t the ending would have been totally different I’m sure, so maybe it was best for her to just do it. She called him I guess to know if he cared about her, maybe to just confirm her feelings and actions were correct.
    22. Weeeeell sometimes it is hard to know someone’s favorite color if they don’t talk about it, but if you pay attention to what they own and stuff you can get a good idea. I don’t think it was necessarily about her favorite color, it was just her wondering if he cared enough to know things about her, to give her attention I guess. I don’t think my dad knows my favorite color :/……..oh wait he might since I dyed my hair that one time…ok anyway
    Book Club Discussion #1: I think I relate to May actually. I get sad really easily (not like her exactly) and cry a lot too. I guess we’re both just sensitive.
    Book Club Discussion #2: Oh!! Either January since I was born then as well as my mom and grandma…or October since it has Halloween and nice weather and stuff.
    Discussion Project #1:


    Chapter Nine:
    23. Because Lily is nice :)))
    24. It was nice of him to stick by his friends.
    25. I think maybe she was so upset by the unjustness of it or because she was very close to him. I was surprised this made her do what she did. I thought she had gotten a call Zach had died of something and I was freaking out. This was a really sad scene though 😦
    Chapter Ten:
    26. I guess she was just overwhelmed and tired of feeling everyone’s pain. It was so sad though!! I wish she hadn’t killed herself. I don’t know if it was inevitable but probably likely to happen since her sister did it as well, I didn’t think she would though.
    27. Oh my gosh I didn’t even notice! Did the bees swarm before? I took the book back and can’t check….someone tell me?
    28. Maybe be strong through death and live for the person who was lost. It kind of reminds me of this quote “Get busy living or get busy dying” from the Shawshank Redemption for some reason…
    Chapter Eleven:
    29. I think she’s been a part of it for a while. They have let her stay there, taught her their work, and they obviously care about her. I’m glad she has a place where she knows she’s not “unlovable”.
    Chapter Twelve:
    30. It’s only natural to feel that since her childhood was ruined because of her being alone with T.Ray. I probably would have felt the exact same way. I think Deborah was wrong in leaving. I understand why she did, and maybe she would have been a bad parent during the time she left because she was depressed to that’s why she left Lily…but I don’t even. At least she came back for her.
    31. Yesss! She seems like such a nice person, I feel like she would do this kind of thing for anyone.
    Chapter Thirteen:
    32. I don’t even remember it 😦 I’ll need to look at other answers on here later.
    Chapter Fourteen:
    33. I think it’s all about pride really. I can think of many things that I am not ready to forgive people for and may never be because I am stubborn and hold grudges. It’s not a good quality but a lot of people are like that. I think it was harder to forgive herself because she probably felt that if she hadn’t picked up that gun it wouldn’t have even mattered her mom left because they would have been able to go off together.
    34. He was reminded of when Deborah left him. I feel bad for T. Ray now too actually. He only became mean I think because Deborah left, right? I mean it was wrong for him to be so mean to Lily, but maybe he was so mean to her her whole life because she reminded her of him. He needed to talk to someone about it I think.
    35. Yeah, in a weird way he showed he did because he could have easily just grabbed her and taken her back to her horrible life before. He just has a terrible attitude.
    36. She watched out for everyone in her home, took care of them all, and was really the main mother figure to all the ladies in the book.
    37. She learned to forgive, about equality, to treat others as she wants to be treated, and I think she’s overall just going to continue to grow up in a strong on supportive house. She was three mom’s now (maybe more with the other ladies who come over to pray) when she used to have none 🙂
    Other Questions:
    38. Hmmmm I’m not sure. Maybe Lily because they all take care of her, but maybe August since she makes all other aspects of the house and honey business happen. This is a tough one.
    39. I liked Rosaleen because she was full of attitude and didn’t even care. But I also like Zach and Lily as a couple…..their names don’t combine to well though
    Discussion Project #2: Okay Lily and Zach get married eventually when they are finally able to and it is the cutest wedding ever with like bee hive center pieces or something. She’s a writer (maybe she wrote the Secret Life of Bees???!) and Zach is a lawyer. I think Rosaleen will find some cool husband who also has a big personality and she lives near the pink house and all the ladies are still friends!

    • In response to #27, I don’t think any bees did swarm before her death. But I do remember one of the hives swarming at some point in the story. Then they found all the bees on some tree. Whether it was before or after her death, I’m not sure.

  23. 20. I think they are not that different at all, the skin colour is their main difference. As they are working together with bees and honey, they are about the same age and feel kind of lonely, it is natural they are seeking for friendship and being loved. I think that true love can overcome all kinds of differences, otherwise it is not true love! 🙂
    21.She shouldn’t have called because T.Ray doesn’t care anyway and actually Lily is perfectly well with the sisters. But I think she called because she was curious and hoped that T.Ray still loves her a bit.
    22. It shows being interested, but often being interested means caring. Some people associate with certain colours for me clearly. My good friends favourite colour is red and she almost always wears something red. Once I spent five days together with her on a holiday. After these days I couldn’t help thinking of her every time I saw something red. 😛
    Book Club Discussion #2: I was born in November, but this is too dark and cold here in Estonia, so I’d prefer a summer month. August maybe: I could use staying up late for gazing stars! 🙂
    Discussion Project #1:


  24. 23. June saw that Lily is actually a very lovely girl and she isn’t dangerous or bossy although she is white. I think June also understood that it is ridiculous to be cross with such a nice girl.
    24. Yes, he did, because this boy was Zach’s friend and he didn’t want to trait him.
    25. Usually May just started humming crying and went to her wall, but now she was petrified. I think she took it much more seriously because Zach was very close to her.
    26. I actually don’t understand why she killed herself, it was so shocking and sad. Maybe because May saw that injustice can come very near and it is not only on the TV. Maybe she had just so many things to worry about that she couldn’t bear them any longer… Her twin sister commited suicide, too. Somewhere it was said that June was playing the chello just like someone was dead, maybe this was also a foreshadowing… But it was still unexpected.
    27. I found this place in the story! When Lily went to see Zach in the jail, Zach told her that one hive he kept at the Haney farm was swarming and he looked for those bees everywhere until he finally found them on a young magnolia tree.

  25. 8.) I would probably help Rosaleen and run away too if I were in Lily’s situation.
    9.) T. Ray seemed like he was making up that version of the story to hurt Lily. I’m not sure which of the stories is the truth.
    10.) I think Rosaleen will be more like an older sister from what I have read so far in the book.
    11.) Lily’s “Jar being open,” may signify that it is her chance to be free.
    12.) The Black Madonna seems like a rebellious statement towards racism.
    13.) The three sisters seem to have very different personalities and have caught my interest. I think August lets them stay because she knows they are in need of help and can see through the lies Lily tells about what happened to Rosaleen, plus what Lily made up about her family.
    14.) The wall might be some sort of wall filled with sorrows or dreams. Maybe like a therapy?

  26. 21. no she should’nt have but she mainly called to see if he even cared about her at all.
    22. I think it takes more than knowing someone’s favorite colour to know if they care about you. I f you know their favorite colour then you are observant that’s all.
    Book Club Discussion #2 September cause it’s my birth month and that’s also when the leaves start changing and Fall begins and the air smells so nice, clean and crisp.
    Discussion Project #1

  27. Book Club Dare #1: Okay I watched the movie over a span of about three days..and it was okayyy. I liked how the closet scene looked and also the whole setting of the pink house which I thought was cute. I didn’t really like the actor choices for rosaleen and may though. I pictured them both to be older and rosaleen to be a lot bigger and sassier. I loved June though and surprisingly Lily 🙂 I mean of course I pictured things to look different like the statue and T.Ray..but I thought it was a pretty good book to movie (I am used to not liking movies as much as books by now 🙂 ) So I did like the book A LOT better, but it was a quick movie to watch 😀

    40. I probably wouldn’t recommend this to a friend first because most of my friends don’t read and the ones that do, prefere the horror and thriller type books. Then again I enjoy these type of books best as well and I still for some reason liked The Secret Life of Bees. I would probably tell my aunts or grandma to read this. Even so, I liked it!! 🙂

  28. 23. she realized that being mean to her wasn’t going to change things and she got used to her and softened up.
    24. yes he was showing loyalty to his friends
    25. she was so close to him that she went into shock mode over the incident
    26. I think all the bad stuff added up and eventually overwhelmed her and there was no way of knowing she would do this so there was no way of stoping her.
    27. I don’t think they have any connection.
    28. That no matter how bad things get you should keep going and never give up
    29. I think she’s been part of their family for a while now. They have taught her their trade and she’s gone through so much with them and June’s accepted her.

  29. 28. That we should live our life right now and enjoy it, because we don’t live forever. And we shouldn’t worry too much about those who are gone already. There is an Estonian fairytale about a mother who has lost her child. It is very hard for her and she cries every day. One day in church she sees a lot of recently died children as angels. They are all wearing nice clean and dry shirts, but her own child’s shirt was soaking with water. The child tells her mother that she should stop crying, because her tears make the shirt wet. Such stories help to make the grieving easier and keep people mentally healthy.
    29. I think that by June and May she was accepted right away, but now when June also learned to love her she is a full member. 🙂
    30. We all have the right to feel certain feelings, but we should overcome the negative ones to go on with our lives. Nobody should leave their children, but Deborah was emotionally confused because of her hard relationship with T.Ray. And she missed Lily when she was away and finally came after her! Making mistakes is humanly. But Lily and her mom both understood they were wrong: Lily forgave her mother and Deborah came back to her daughter.
    31. I think she would have, because she was so caring.
    32. May I boast a little bit? I have translated this poem into Estonian and the translation is published in a love novel translated by mum! 🙂 There is a different translation in Estonian version of “Secret life of the bees”, but I didn’t know this translation existed when I made mine. I like this poem, it is sad, but beautiful. It is about tragical and twisted love, that is so strong that can destroy a person. Deborah is in love with T.Ray, although he is violent with her. Deborah understood that this love does no good to her, still it was hard for her to let go.

  30. 30. she has a right to feel that way currently because she is still youg and it doesn’t help that T-ray played mind games with her concering her mother but hopefully as she gets older she will feel different. I think because of the depression or nervous breakdown she was hoping to clear thing up in her head and then come back for her daughter.
    31. yes, because she is a kind hearteds caring person.
    32. I think she underlined the poem because it described how she was feeling at the time.
    The meaning of the poem: my guess is that something beautiful is being tainted or destroyed.
    33. I guess it would depend on what you are forgiving them for and how you feel at the time.
    I think it’s harder for Lily to frogive herself than her mother.
    34. because he was reliving the first experience of Deborah leaving him and he wasn’t really seeing his daughter.
    35. In a weird way yes I believe he did
    36. she was the main mother figure cause she watched out for everyone.
    37. she learned ho to treat others equally, and have more respect for others and herself.
    38. I beleive August is the Queen bee as she is the one who watched over and cared for everyone
    39. Rosaleen is my favorite character, I liked her attitude on various things.
    40. I probably wouldn’t recommend it to friends as they are all like me read different genre’s and yes this did take me out of my book comfort zone. I also craved honey the whole time I read the book.

  31. 23. I think she realized that Lily was just like any other person and that her color didn’t matter.

    24. I guess, but I would have saved my own skin…

    25. I think it was because she really liked Zach and hated to see him get hurt. I don’t think they should have kept that kind of information from her.

    26. I’d say she got tired of feeling sadness the way she did. I think it was inevitable since her sister had done the same thing and August said they both could feel each other’s pain and did everything together.

    27. I think there was mention of this, but can’t remember now!

    28. That people should LIVE, not just be alive.:

    29. Yes, I think she is part of the family now. 🙂

    30. Yes and Yes. She has a right to hate her for leaving her, and Deborah was wrong to leave her daughter, especially since her leaving caused bad things to happen.

    31. Not sure…maybe, just because she’s nice enough, but I think she let Lily stay because she looked like Deborah.

    32. I read this poem in school. It’s about how love can be painful and hurt you sometimes, like a worm can hurt a rose. She underlined this poem because it reminded her of T. Ray and how he hurt her.

  32. 33. I think most people just forgive unless somebody did something really bad and then they never forgive them at all. It was harder for Lily to forgive herself, I’m sure.

    34. He was reminded of the day Deborah left and it brought all of those memories back.

    35. Yes, in some way he did.

    36. She took care of people when they needed it, loved them, and watched over everyone like the Black Madonna did.

    37. She grew up into a lady, and learned a lot about life from all the ladies.

    38. I think August, since she took care of everybody including Deborah and Lily.

    39. I liked August the best since she knew a lot about the bees and was very caring and understanding.

    Discussion Project #2: Lily probably never sees her father again but gets a call one day that he died. I think Lily and Zach probably grow apart. Rosaleen stays with the Boatwright sisters in the pink house.

    Book Club Dare #1: I’ve seen the movie already before reading this book. I prefer the movie, because I like seeing how the setting and characters look better than just reading about it.

    40. Yep, I’d recommend this to a friend. It’s a great book! 🙂

    40. Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

  33. 18. Because she has been hurt before.
    19. I think that the story touched her but also realized that she is not like the others. That is why she fainted.
    20. I think because they have things in common and can talk to each other. I think true love can overcome these differences.
    21. I think she should have, because he is still her father. I think she called him because she was secretely hoping for some love from him.
    22. I don’t think so. You can also love someone and know a million other things about a person.
    Book Club Discussion #2: I’d choose October because I love autumn.

    Discussion Project #1:

    23. Because Lily reminds her of someone she knew
    24. I think he did, because otherwise he would have been in much more trouble I think.
    25. I think because she liked Zach as a person and that he was so close to her. I think that’s why it effected her more than other events.
    26. I think because she was feeling so depressed all the time. I think it was inevitable.
    27. I am not sure.
    28. That people should live and enjoy life and not always thinking about the mistakes they made.
    29. I think she has.
    30. I don’t think so. I think sometimes parents need to take time for themselfs if they don’t feel well, so they can take better care for their children.
    31. I think she did. August is a really loving person and I think she would have helped anyone.
    32. I think she did that to show how she was feeling at the time.
    33. I don’t think so. I think that there are many people who can forgive, unless it is something incredibly terrible what they did.
    34. I think because Lily looks so much like her mother and that the situation brought back memories.
    35. I think he does.
    36. She loves the people she takes care of. In that way she looks like the Black Madonna.
    37. She grep up from a child to a woman.
    38. I’d say August, since she is the one who takes care of everybody.
    39.August since she was so nice to everyone!
    Discussion Project #2: I am not sure if she would see her father again. It could be that because he takes his distance, that their relationship will get better. I don’t think Lily and Zach will stay together.

    40. I definitely would, because I loved the book!

  34. 15. I think June doesn’t trust people in general so she doesn’t want strangers who just showed up at their door living with them.

    16. The wailing wall is sort of a weird concept. I try keep my feeling to myself, because crying all the time would get in the way of me living.

    17.) To cure my hiccups I drink lemon juice straight because it shocks my system and stops my hiccups right away.

    Discussion #1: I don’t see myself relating to any of the characters.

    18.) I think June likes her independce and sees marriage as a binding agreement and a loss of freedom.

    19.) Lily is just now finding out who she really is and growing into a young adult.

    20.) Lily and Zach become friends because they have a true connection with eachother and differences don’t matter to them. I believe that true love is blind so it definitely can work if people really want it to.

    21.) Lily calling T. Ray was a normal action, because all children want their parents to love them. I think calling him allowed her to have some closure.

    22.) Knowing the color of someone you love doesn’t necessarily represent loving them. It’s good to remember what people like but if you really love them you have to show them.

    Discussion #2: I would choos August, because my birthday is in August.


    23. June started to love Lily because she saw how special she was.

    24.) I’m not really certain.

    25.) May seems to be on a rollercoaster of moods so it’s diffiult to underestand why she reacts the way she does.

    26.) May ended her life because she was always depressed.

    27.) The bees may have been a foreshadowing of her death.

    28.) That suicide is never the answer to your problems.

    29.) Lily seems to be fitting in with their family pretty well at this point, but I think it will take longer for her to be seen as an actual family member.

    30.) Lily being mad at her mother is a natural reaction for her to cope with what happened. There are some circumstances where parents leave their children which can’t ever be justified.

    31.) August probably would have been more inclined to only let Lily stay for a shorter time if she wasn’t Deborah’s daughter.

  35. 33. Forgiving is really hard for some people who are stubborn (sometimes me, too), but luckily there are a lot of nice people around who can forgive without bigger problems. After all forgiving is a great relief, grudge and guiltiness is no good. I think forgiving her mother was hard for Lily because she couldn’t forgive herself first. When she learned to let go of her guiltiness, she could also forgive Debora.
    34. Lily must have looke a lot like her mother and T.Ray was so upset that he didn’t control himself, so old feelings and memories took over.
    35. Yes, I think he did. He just had problems expressing his feelings.
    36. She was so kind, caring and helpful and she was the lead figure of the daughters of Mary.
    37. She got over her guiltiness, forgave herself and her mother and learned to love and to be loved. She also learned to fight for people and things that are important to her although I think she was already very brave-hearted before.
    38. In a way August (see question 36), but also Rosaleen and I think Lily finally found a queen bee in herself, too. Actually all the nice ladies in the story – I think they were leading their lives with queenly dignity.
    39. I liked Rosaleen because of her attitude and humour.
    Discussion Project #2: I think Lily becomes a writer and also keeps keeping bees. She wents to see her father when she is older. Zach goes to law school and becomes a good lawyer, he marries Lily and they probably build their own house near the Pink House (with bees of course). Rosaleen stays in the pink house with August and June.

  36. 40. I wouldn’t recommend it to all of my friends, but some certainly, because it is a great story about caring and coming of age. Although the main character is young, it is not a book for very young people. But my mum is already reading it! 🙂

  37. I just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees. I enjoyed it a lot.

    40. Yes, I would recommend this book. I think especially women may enjoy this book. A few of my church friends might not like it because of the made up stuff about Mary, but I’d definitely recommend it to my best friend.

    (I’m not sure yet, whether I’ll get around to answering any of the questions in between, but thank you for giving me the incentive to finally read this book.)

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