Saturday, May 16, 2009
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.