In this world, being human and all, there are many times when the people who should be there for us just aren’t. And there is something powerful about another human stepping into that space and being present for the one in need. In that power, this outsider can bring healing or cause great harm. It’s an idea that is one I am drawn to in story form over and over. One such brilliant example is The Secret Life of Bees by, Sue Monk Kidd. In this story, we meet Lily. Lily has a vague recollection of the day her mother was killed and it’s put in her a deep longing to know more about her mother and what happened that day. In Lily’s home at the time, are Rosaleen who is the maid but also is very much a mother to Lily, and T.Ray who is her abusive father. Rosaleen gets into trouble for standing up to some racists, and Lily, in an effort to help Rosaleen, ends up on a journey that takes her to the door of three sisters who take her in. While I read this, I kept thinking about how we all have special niches that we can fill, and not one of us can meet all of another person’s needs, even the people we care the most about.
Sue Monk Kidd has a great aptitude for expressing the importance of relationships and community, in her novels. It’s a quality I strive to reproduce in my writing, too. I think that’s why stories like these, especially when the protagonist is so young and the heroes so unexpected, appeal to me.
Have you read any of Sue Monk Kidd’s books? Do her stories resonate with you? Are there novels that have informed the way you think about relationships and community? I want to know.
Thanks for reading!
Readers, I’m looking for guest authors for this blog. Is there a piece of literature that’s inspired you? Maybe it helped you see the world differently, maybe it helped you make an important decision, or maybe it made you realize you weren’t alone in the world. If you’re not brave enough to post, I could tweak your submission (with your approval) & post it. Comment here, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org, if you’re willing.