The first section of this book held me breathless; it is among the best writing I’ve encountered. The story is compelling and it is beautifully told. It is tough to write about without spoiler alerts.
Young Lilly Owens grew up in South Carolina in the 60’s;her mother was killed when Lily was young and her father was an unloving, hard-hearted SOB. She was 14 in 1964 when Civil Rights legislation was finally passed; voter registration for Blacks is a catalyst for Lilly and her nanny, Rosaleen, to embark on a trip of liberation, love, self understanding, and forgiveness. She ends up working as a bee keeper in a house of black women.
This may be considered young adult literature because the subject is a young coming-of-age woman. But it speaks to all ages. If the whole book was as good as the opening section, it would have been a Pullitzer prize winner; though the rest of the story isn’t told with the same power and immediacy, it is excellent – as indicated by the fact it spent over 100 weeks on the NY Times best sellers list.