Those who disdain chick books may break into a rash at the plot, but please, stay with us. Fourteen-year-old Lily Owens nurtures a deep loneliness for her long-dead mother. In the roiling civil rights-era South, she escapes her abusive father — with surrogate black mother in tow — and lands at the home of three sister beekeepers, August, June, and May. It should be mentioned that these women, too, are black, as Kidd dips a heavy, honeyed ladle into lessons of race, inequality, empowerment, and the healing nature of love and forgiveness. As cliché and cutesy as the story may sound, it’s actually quite comforting, thanks to lovely writing and vivid, kind characters. It’s as if Kidd loaded up a take-home plate with all the gooey, starchy treats her characters so often cook, and you said, ”Oh, I couldn’t,” and then scarfed it down in the car on the way home. B

The Secret Life of Bees
  • Movie
  • 110 minutes