The Secret Life of Bees was met with generally positive reviews when it was published in 2002. Sue Monk Kidd had already established a reputation for herself as a writer of inspirational literature, and many reviewers seemed to approach the novel in that spirit, praising it for its upbeat message of the power of love. Jarrod Zickefoose, writing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, suggests that the reader must force sympathy for Lily, but that "August's deep spirituality, her security and her wisdom form a character that permeates the pages." In the April 2002 Women's Review...
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