*** Why Did I Read This? ***
LITTLE BEE, by Chris Cleave, is my book club's choice for June. I nominated this book for three reasons. First, the cover caught my attention. Isn't it just gorgeous? I'm not really picky about book covers - inside the book is what is important - but sometimes a good one really stands out. The second reason I nominated this book was the summary provided by the publisher.
WE DON'T WANT TO TELL YOU TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS BOOK.That really got me ... how 'bout you? And my final reason for nominating this book was the video of the author that you can watch at Amazon.com here. All those things combined to put this book right at the top of my TBR list. And it worked, because 8 of the gals in the book club voted to read this.
It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.
Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:
It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific.
The story starts there, but the book doesn't.
And it's what happens afterward that is most important.
Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.
*** So, What's It About? ***
Do you really think I'm going to give it all away after that lovely plea from the publisher?! Not this girl ... at least, not publicly. Here's what I will say: This story has to do with the horrors of war, the refugee system in Britain, and the connections between people. If you want to know more before deciding whether or not to read it, feel free to email me (there's a link to my email through my profile) and I'll give you more info. But I'm not going to post details here because it will ruin it for those who don't want to know. And to be honest, after reading it myself, I'm glad I didn't know more than I did.
*** Did I Like It? ***
Oh yes, I LOVED it. The writing in this book is beautiful. I was completely caught up in the story, in the images, in the anecdotes, in every part of this book. The story is horrible and heartbreaking in parts but it is written in such a way that is doesn't feel heavy or burdensome to read. It is light and funny and wonderful ... and very, very real.
I could go on and on about how much I loved this book, about the passages that stuck out to me, but I won't. I'm sure that in the coming months this book will get lots of attention in the blogosphere and that you'll probably get sick of hearing about it after a while. So let me be the first to tell you that all the hype you eventually hear is true - this is a VERY GOOD BOOK. Make the time to read it ... you won't regret it.
*** Other Reviews? ***
I'm really looking forward to discussing this with my book club on June. 16th. I can't wait to see what the rest of the gals thought of it. I'll be posting a recap of the meeting on my book club's blog - I'll let you know when it goes up.
I did a search of my Google Reader to find other reviews of this book and I only came up with a few:
- Whimpulsive - her review contains lots more details about the plot than mine but it is spoiler-free
- Lesley's Book Nook - she says this book reminds her of Barbara Kingsolver's THE POISONWOOD BIBLE - that is one of my all-time favorite books and I can definitely see the similarities
- Owl's Feathers - includes several lengthy quotes that really give you a feel for the language in this book
*** An Excerpt ***
To give you a taste of this book I'm going to transcribe the first two paragraphs here. Enjoy.
Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming. Maybe I would visit you for the weekend and then suddenly, because I am fickle like that, I would visit with the man from the corner shop instead - but you would not be sad because you would be eating a cinnamon bun, or drinking a cold Coca-Cola from the can, and you would never think of me again. We would be happy, like lovers who met on holiday and forgot each other's names.So ... what did you think?!
A pound coin can go wherever it thinks it will be safest. It can cross deserts and oceans and live the sound of gunfire and the bitter smell of burning thatch behind. When it feels warm and secure it will turn around and smile at you, the way my big sister Nkiruka used to smile at the men in our village in the short summer after she was a girl but before she was really a woman, and certainly before the evening my mother took her to a quiet place for a serious talk.
[Update: I forgot to mention where I first heard about this book. It was at ReadingGroupGuides.com here.]