4 of 10: Little Bee nearly killed me. I can understand why some people like it (or even love it), but it just didn’t do a lot for me.
This book is WILDLY popular. Currently, it’s sitting in the 28th spot on Amazon’s best sellers list. I tend to like popular books, so this is not a strike against it for me – I have no feelings of superiority about liking very obscure books.
And then I foolishly went and searched for it in my Google Reader and the reviews of several friends and bloggers that I respect and admire were gushing with praise for it thie Little Bee book and I felt like a complete illiterate for not caring for it (“Where are my Twilight books??! I cannot be bothered with books that don’t include unrealistic love triangles and sparkly vampires!”).
But really, Little Bee? Not for me. Not for me at all. I listened to it on my iPod and it took me forever to get through (forever = two months).
The official blurb is all mysterious:
“We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this . . . Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.”
Oh brother. Why am I such a cynic? I have no idea. . .
little bee by chris cleave
Anyway. The basic, apparently book-ruining premise is this – Little Bee is a refugee from Nigeria (I will probably never again be able to say Nigeria without pronouncing it the way the narrator did) and she’s been in a detention center for two years in England. When she gets out she goes to the home of Sarah and her son Charlie. Sarah’s husband has recently died, but they knew Little Bee, having met her a few years earlier (how they met would be telling).
The story alternates between Sarah and Little Bee, and switching between the present and the past and eventually you learn how their lives are intertwined.
I could have liked it – there were themes that, played out differently, could have moved me or captured my attention – but it just didn’t. It was too contrived, had too much of an agenda, and too full of sex and swearing.
Oh well. Back to my regularly scheduled teen romances.