Saturday, May 16, 2009

reading




Finished reading The Secret Life of Bees.... just loved it. And before talking about it, thought I'd post a pic that I took last week of the bee hive outside our house. It's a good size and I see the honey bees all over the yard. They buzz around the flowers and seem to love the morning glory. I love bees. Have since childhood. Big fat bumble bees are my favorite, but since reading this book, I'm now truly intrigued with honey bees and everything that they do. This is a pic of the hive and pics of the flowers in our yard... wish I could get up real close and hear the buzzing sound. (pics were taken w/ my camera phone and aren't the best.)

I think the book is a must read. It's touching, heartwarming, funny, at times, and sad. Full of life lessons. I found myself thinking a lot about my childhood while reading it. A lot about things I've gone through, what my sister must have gone through and my mom. I thought about my older sisters life back then, my niece and nephew, my sister's ex, who passed many years ago, his family and the neighborhood where we used to play as kids.

I grew up in Madison, Indiana. A small, historic town in Southeastern Indiana. I loved Madison as a child, but as I got older and into junior high, I found my life full of drama... for many reasons.... but this one thing, in particular, is the reason behind my thoughts while reading.

My oldest sister married a black man back in the 70s, had two children - a boy and a girl - and I grew up believing there was nothing wrong with being black.... it wasn't until I was in junior high that I realized that not everyone had the same ideas and beliefs as me, and having a black family and friends just wasn't cool with a lot of ppl.

I spent a lot of time with my sister as a child, playing with my niece and nephew (we're not too far apart in age), and a significant amount of time at my ex-BILs mom's house... in the heart of downtown Madison. There was a playground next to her house and we'd spend hours there. If we weren't there, we were playing in the house where she had a piano that we loved to play. She had a good sized yard or so it seemed when I was small and we'd play tag and hide and go seek there... in the dark, of course. :) I loved that time in my life.

I can remember going to church with my niece and her grandmother (sister's ex-MIL)... all the ladies with their big hats... so much of what Lily (Secret Life of Bees) experienced while living with the beekeeping ladies (wont give anything away here). Lily happens to be a young white girl that has an abusive father, and her best friend is a black servant that has helped raise her.

The book journeys through racial tension, hate, abuse and the ideas, of some, that it was taboo to be around blacks and, even worse, love one and would get some black men killed - if they were to have a relationship w/ a white girl. This is when I started thinking about my older sister. I can only imagine the tremendous struggles she went through. Not only did she have a black husband, but she also had two mixed children. And like I said, it wasn't until I got into junior high that I experienced the suffering that comes along with being anything different from what white ppl want you to be... remembering the racial tension I went through, the name calling, abuse on buses, the fights....

All I can say is - color is only skin deep. I wonder how many, if any, of them realize that now?!

The book ended nicely, but I longed for a bit more. Am wanting to see the movie now. My sis told me that it's really good.

Will add that I'm now more than fascinated with everything that honey bees do... as a result of reading this book. If you read it... or have... hope you enjoy(ed) it.

9 comments:

Olivia said...

My parents were mixed - and lived together and had me before getting married - 3 decades ago.

In London this was a novelty back then, and I think of them as pioneers. Today you would be hard pressed to find a homogeneous couple in that city!

But they never felt accepted, oddly enough, until we went to Texas. In London they experienced a lot of prejudice and harrassment, and in Houston a lot of love from people, so much so that my mother forgot her color for the first time in years.

One Wink at a Time said...

Loved the book. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And the movie is pretty darn good, just a wee bit shy of the greatness of the book.
I hate that there are racial barriers. Period.

Bobby said...

I am an Indian and in India, there is no discrimination regarding color (but we have worse divides - castes n religion)
But happy that you share my views on the issue...
Now, where will I find that book here in India?

Miss Fluff said...

People can be very hateful, for stupid reasons. Thankfully, it's people like you and your sister, who know that color isn't a factor, when it comes to love. I think as we progress into the future, with knowlege and kindness, things like racism, will really come to an end.

Miss Fluff said...

P.S

I heard the movie was good too :)

Christopher said...

It just warms my heart knowing that you loved that book. I knew it was something that you would enjoy! I'll email you an eclectic list of books you should look for, it always makes me happy knowing that someone gets out of a book what I did. The wailing wall in the book and film is what got me. I was extremely touched by that.

Um Naief said...

christopher, yes, the wailing wall got to me as well... and how she'd sing 'old suzanna' right before having to go there. i'd love the list of books... you and i seem to have the same taste in what we read...

how's your baby?? she feeling better? and how are you?

bobby, not sure where you can get the book in india.. but if you have major book stores, then i'd bet you could get a copy there... or at least i hope you could.

i see the racism towards ppl here w/ respect to religion...

olivia, i didn't know that your mom and dad had you out of wedlock... my sister was the same. it's really nice to know that your mother fell in love w/ texas because of how well they treated her. it really does make a difference to your quality of life when you have ppl making negative comments or taking negative actions versus not. if that makes sense.

miss fluff, i agree with you. i do hope for a day when racism is no more. i believe it's a possibility, but sometimes my heart sinks when i see or hear of ppl doing really stupid things... but.. i do believe there's more hope and possibility of it happening than ever before.

one wink, there's nothing like a good book. i have several that i need to read, just don't know which to choose. i have one called 'the russian concubine'... sounds interesting... but since i've been reading books that have really gripped me, it's hard to decide... for fear i'll be disappointed. i'm so bad like this! :)

glad you enjoyed the book. i'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

Just Jane said...

You are from Madison, IN???? I had no idea. I've been there several times, back in the late 1980's for the big boat races. I was in love with a boy there...it's not such a big town, maybe you knew him. Small world.

Um Naief said...

just jane, yeah, those are the regatta races. i used to go there as a young girl. it was a big family event. and about the boy... gosh, how long ago? i haven't been there or lived there since the 70s. :) maybe i do know him....