i'm just a literary tease, my reputation's on its knees.

The Bees' Knees & Other Secrets

May 04, 2005

What I found particularly interesting about Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees is the way that Kidd weaved her factual knowledge about bees into the storyline. Each chapter starts with a quote from a biological book about Bees (one with the GREAT title: The Queen Must Die: And Other Affairs of Bees and Men!). In the back of the novel, Kidd discusses how she knew next to nothing about bees at the start of the novel. She discusses the research she put into the novel:

"Books couldn't tell me everything I needed to know, so I visited an apiary in South Carolina. Inside the honey house, I sketched all the honey-making equipment, trying to get a handle on how they worked. There seemed to be a thin veneer of honey everywhere, and my shoes stuck slightly to the floor when I walked, something I could never have learned from a book."

I loved that! It just goes to show that a writer can't really write about something with emotional impact unless she has actually lived and experienced that emotion. You can't write about death effectively unless death has come a'knockin' on your front door, etc. I think that's the cool thing about writing: You have to get out there an live your life... but then you need to come home and retreat into yourself in order to write about it. Neat.

Moira at 10:37 AM :: Comments (1) :: ::

I agree with you that it does help tremendously that an author be familiar with a subject while writing about it, I feel that the stories used in class that have a factual base are easier to understand than those which do not.

Posted by: Chris Parfitt at May 5, 2005 03:04 PM
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