A Special Message from Sue Monk Kidd
When I began writing The Secret Life of Bees, my desire was to write a novel that would tap the human heart. Of course, I wanted readers to experience the story intellectually-to learn about bees and beekeeping, the Civil Rights movement, life in the South in 1964, family dynamics, the Black Madonna, and so forth-but more than that I wanted them to participate emotionally in my characters' sufferings, ecstasies, yearnings, and struggles. I wanted them to feel, for instance, what it's like to be a motherless girl adrift in the world or a person facing terrible racial cruelties.
I suspect that the real power of literature lies in its ability to jolt the heart, to create compassion, and to make the boundaries between people more permeable. This power is particularly potent, I think, when people come together around a single book to explore its meaning in a myriad of ways, which is why I'm so excited and grateful that Timberland Reads Together chose The Secret Life of Bees for its community reading program. I can't begin to tell you what an honor it is for me to have so many of you reading my novel and to have such an impressive array of events created by the Timberland Regional Library. I hope it will be an enriching experience, one that ultimately takes you to empathetic places of the heart.
Sue Monk Kidd