It took me a long while to get started on this novel, even though I’ve had it in Kindly (the Kindle) for awhile, and part of the reason was because, well, I don’t like bees.
Despite knowing how important and integral they are to the ways of the world and life, I just can’t bring myself to love them as I would a cat or dog. Result of social conditioning.
But that aside, I truly Felt this novel. Good writing does that to you, I think. It makes you feel. Not just for the protagonist, but for all the characters. For the context (Summer 1964, South Carolina – Civil Rights upheavals), landmarks (the Pink House), even the “bad” guy (Lily’s father).
“There is nothing perfect,” August said from the doorway. “There is only life.”
“Drifting off to sleep, I thought about her. How nobody is perfect. How you just have to close your eyes and breathe out and let the puzzle of the human heart be what it is.”
Above all, this novel spoke of the universal affinity within us for that aspect of universal motherhood, the forms and qualities associated with it.
“You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves.”
I think here, August, already like a surrogate mother to Lily, was speaking about the qualities of motherhood / femininity which we need to cultivate within us: Forgiveness, compassion, selflessness, the ability to love all beings as one’s own.
This book gave me lots to think (and cry) about.