Still photo from wildaboutmovies.com
"The Secret Life of Bees" was a NY Times bestseller I intended to read but studiously avoided, fearing I'd become depressed by tragedy, racial discrimination, death and more. I was more aware of it as a successful book than I was of the content. So, I never read it. What a mistake.
Typically, I read a book and, if I love it, reluctantly see the movie which is almost always a disappointment. With few exceptions, "Cider House Rules" and "Gone With the Wind" come to mind, the movies are glamorized, edited, re-written for a larger audience, sanitized, etc. by Hollywood and the original story lines suffer in comparison.
Last night, my husband and I watched the film version of "The Secret Life of Bees". We loved it.
It was a surprise. I did not expect to like it. I expected it to be a cliche version of some white vs black racial thing...sugar coated for good measure. Instead, my husband and I watched a sweet, sad story about a little girl searching for truth about her dead mother, herself, and life. She finds it in the home of three African American women who make honey. She finds it with her African American friend whom she helps escape from a hospital jail after she's beaten by white men in a small southern town.
I was curious to see if the film was widely panned as I thought I remembered. For the most part, yes. The larger papers, NY Times, Chicago Trib, LA Times, are not positive. There is a lovely review by the Florida Sun Sentinel that praises it for being about "women helping women".
Perhaps the more interesting place to find information is the author web site. Sue Monk Kidd was raised in Georgia during the Fifties & Sixties, a critical and tension filled time. Those of us who remember the race riots, the National Guard/martial law, the murders, beatings, fire hose spraying, dog attacking incidents of those times, well, it's amazing how quickly we forget. I don't know if the story is too redemptive. I don't see what's wrong with redemption. We all want to be saved.
I'm going to read that book.