Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Secret Life of Bees: A Student Review

I know I’m a bit late with a Teen Read Week blog post with this being the first day after Teen Read Week and all, but the weekend offered me lots of food and friends, and as I like to eat (a bit too much), I decided to spread two teen guest blogs into this week. It’s not a bad thing, now you get bits of teen wisdom when you thought you would get none!

Today, I will feature a non-graphic text review of The Secret Life of Bees done by sophomore student Ahniya. Pay attention, teachers, for Ahniya offers up some cool words of advice that might benefit you to listen to:

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees is a very riveting book. It follows the story of a young girl named Lily Owens, and the struggles of finding her own identity, home, and freedom in her chaotic world.


The book appeals to the emotions of the audience, and this creates an instant connection between the character and the reader. This is something that, in my opinion, determines the difference between a good book and a great book. With a great book, the reader should feel the tugs and pulls at their heart and mind: the reader cries when Lily cries, and smiles when she smiles. The book makes the reader feel human, by conveying passion and empathy through the text. The sheer syntax and diction the author uses makes this book a powerful tool for knowledge and teaching.

When I began reading The Secret Life of Bees, I was immediately drawn in by a beautiful image painted by words, and an amazing use of symbolism, comparing the freedoms of humans to that of the honey bee. Realizing this point required critical thinking, and analysis, two skills that are useful in almost every subject of the educational spectrum; the goal of education is to mature, enrich, and strengthen the mind. The fact that this book requires critical thinking and a more mature level of analysis is a prime reason for it to be used in the English classroom. The book also teaches valuable lessons that can be applied to life. This is just as important as an academic principal. For example, in our class, we recently discussed how academics are not the only basis of education. To be fully and richly educated, one must be keen on life principles; this is what qualifies a person as well rounded. When a person can go into the world with just as much common sense as mental capability, they have succeeded in educating themselves properly.

The Secret Life of Bees should be used in education to instill more mature skills and thoughts into students. The book requires intense thought and allows for amazing connections and discussions to be made. The story itself poses life questions and makes the reader think about how they would approach difficult situations. How does freedom connect to conformity? To the mind? Does freedom stem from the mind? These are three of several analytic questions that could be posed and discussed in the classroom from this book. One of the most central goals of an English classroom is to provoke thought and engage the minds of students in pressing and analytical discussions, and this can be done with The Secret Life of Bees.


Hope you enjoyed the review! Let us know what you think, and if you’d like to review a book for the blog or if you know students that like to write and would like to be featured.