Lily is a young girl, who has to live with a mean father. Lily is 14 years old. She is always lying on her bed, watching the bees in the walls of her bedroom. She lives in Sylvan, South Carolina, population 3100 with T. Ray who is Lily's father. Lily never called her father Daddy because she thinks that her father never is like a father, so she calls him T.Ray instead. On 1954, 3rd of December in the afternoon her parents were fighting because Lily's mother wanted to leave T. Ray and wanted Lily to come with her, but T. Ray did not want Lily to go.
Finally Lily's mother got shot, as Lily was trying to help her. It was not certain whose fault it was. Her mother died when she was 4 years old. Lily has carried the guilt of killing her mother since then.

Later on Lily lives with her father, Nanny and Rosaleen who is the blackkeeper. He had never been a good father to Lily . His only kindness was to his bird and dog. Lily wants to write in a private books, but T.Ray does not allow Lily to do this. He disagrees with Lily everywhere. She wants to tell her mother about the special misery of living with T. Ray.