Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Black Madonna

I've been reading some of Sue Monk Kidd's interviews about the Secret Life of Bees online and they were mostly along the same lines, but this one struck me as particularly interesting.  The interviewer is from a religious publication or website (not sure which) and the focal point of the interview was the black madonna.  I read the Secret Life of Bees years ago and am halfway through rereading it and, despite the importance of the black madonna, it never struck me as a particularly religious book, so this article put an entirely new slant on the book for me.  I'll be interested to see what I pick up this time around.  


Gem said...

I found it to be more spiritual than religious, if that makes sense??

Nic said...

Yes, that makes perfect sense, because the characters have sort of made their own religious traditions and practices, so it's not familiarly Christian. When I thought back about the first time I read the the Secret Life of Bees it was the civil rights issues that stood out mostly clearly for me.

爱书 said...

I will admit that I didn't make it through the whole book. It was more read a page, skip a few, read a paragraph. It wasn't really my thing but I gave it a go

The religious element really did jump out at me in the sections I read. The time period and the setting make that unavoidable I would think.

The civil rights aspect was more of a driving force for the storyline, along with the emergence of women's rights. Indeed, the two seemed to go hand in hand.

It was it's examination of the right to have a job you want rather than one of the proscibed 'careers' that were open to women to fill time before becomming a good wife that the storyline caught me (in as much as it was able to that is)


Hettie Betty said...

I finished the book on the long weekend. I thought it was ok. It gave me a toothache though, it was so dripping in honey and sweetness. I found it to be a real feminist book. Civil rights seemed to be touched on, but those story lines never seemed to go anywhere. Rosaleen was never pulled up again, and whatever happened to (I can't remember his name!!) the boy's friend who threw the coke bottle?
I also read that article that Nicole put up and found it rather interesting. I saw the religion and the spiritual as all there to help all the characters cope because every single one of them was an outsider in some way and couldn't do it alone. I felt more inspired reading the article than the book though because it got me thinking about women and spirituality and how it sometimes seems like it is innate within us.

I was brought up Catholic and have to say that Mary wasn't a huge part of our lessons, she only came out at Christmas for us too. But when I was little I always preferred to talk to her because she was like a second mother figure who understood me more because she was a woman. I even had my own Mary symbol- it was this old holy card that was all crushed and torn that I carried around, I called it 'wrecked Mary.'

PJ said...

A question for you Kristen: Can you express why you didn't like the book much? Was it the way it was written? Did certain characters annoy you? The themes? Sometimes it is just as interesting why people don't like a book as their reasons for liking it!!

爱书 said...

I have rather distinct reading taste and although I am more than willing to give something a go I find it hard to stick with a book that doen't appeal to me

To put it one way - the book was too 'real' for me. The characters, events, time period etc all had too much 'reality' to catch me and so I had to skip and jump (I vowed after uni to never complete a book I wasn't enojying)

There was nothing wrong with the style, the writing or the content it just didn't hold my attention (shallow aren't I!)

I also have a problem reading books with characters I don't like headlining and to be honest I couldn't stand any of them...

All in all, this is not a studied, reasoned or well analised response to your question and my inability to read the book properly - I didn't even really dislike it as such - it was just *meh*