Yes, I did start reading this book just because it seemed easy to read and I needed something to fill my 10-hour bus trip. I was right. It is such an easy book to read. But it is also such a difficult book to get over.
It’s a story told in the voice of a child. The innocent voice of a girl who cannot accept that bad exists in the world and is shocked to see it. She cannot accept that she’s been abandoned, that people really think that skin colour is a relevant way of assessing the value of a human being. She lives on love and happiness alone. Isn’t she the best human being out there?
Thinking she might’ve killed her mother and growing less and less happy with her tyrant father, she decides to leave and find the truth. And she finds it. Of course, she finds what happened to her mother, but that’s not the truth I’m talking about. The truth she finds is love, so many kinds of love, all contributing to her becoming herself, not being just another human built on the same pattern, fitting all the social constructs and never using their own minds.
We are so limited, you have to use the same word for loving Rosaleen as you do for loving Coke with peanuts. Isn’t that a shame we don’t have many more ways to say it?
The most important part of this book, for me, only takes two lines, but it is what makes it so important: it validates the need of change. Change is the only thing that makes world better (but it doesn’t mean it always manages to do so). Change.
‘We can’t think of changing our skin,’ he said. ‘Changing the world – that’s how we gotta think’.
This is not a literary masterpiece. And it doesn’t aim to be so. But it is a manifesto, a statement about the humanity and its most important attributes.
Actually, you can be bad at something…but if you love doing it, that will be enough.
The Secret Life of Bees is maybe the only book that I would describe as lovely and strong, sweet and powerful. It made me happy, it made me laugh and smile, but it never stopped making me believe in its message. It might be a book about racism, but the message trascends this particular case and it talks about the condition of human beings at any level, it talks about equality and liberty, using the metaphor of the bees. The bees do live according to a hierarchy, but what do you know about their secret life?