Saturday, May 22, 2010

Book Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: February 2009
ISBN: 9781416589648
Source: Library

Little Bee: A Novel

Well, the blurb for this book says, "We don't want to tell you WHAT HAPPENS in this book."  It then goes on to give you a few basics of the story, "This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again - the story starts there ... 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."  So, I'm sticking with what they say and not really telling you anything about it (mostly because I had a beast of a time trying to figure out what to say)!

Things I Liked:
Well, this is most definitely a powerful story.  IT will take your heart and twist it and poke it and make sure it is still beating before beating it.  It will make you stop and think and then think some more.  I like the developing of relationships between Little Bee and Sarah.  I loved Charlie (aka Batman).  I thought he was the heart of the story, which was interesting, since it was basically about Little Bee.  The story itself was fairly interesting too - I definitely learned more about immigration in England than I ever knew before!  Here are some thoughtful quotes from the book:

"I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly.  That is what the scar makers want us to think.  But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them.  We must see all scars as beauty...Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying.  A scar means, I survived." p 23
"Horror in your country is something you take a dose of to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it." p82
Things I Didn't Like:
You know, I just wasn't invested in the characters.  I thought it was very tragic and also quite powerful what happens, but the format really annoyed me.  The writing itself was quite lovely - beautiful turns of phrase and some great descriptions, but the way it was organized drove me insane.  It felt very stream-of-consciousness and I really don't like that in general.  I also felt pretty detached from the horrific events that happened in their lives.  I really did cry for Little Bee and her sister, but that only happened about once in the book.  Also, the fact that it says the story is "humorous" is really not true.  I laughed a few times with Charlie, but really that doesn't make the book funny.  At all.  Definitely an up and down book for me.

I'd say it was a bit like The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, but not as powerful

s-factor: !@#

mrg-factor: XXX
lots of this too

v-factor: ->->->
a few scenes that were quite disturbing

Overall rating: ***

What did you think of the publicity tactic of not telling you anything about the story?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. This one's been sitting here for me to read... but I just haven't been in the mood.

    Need to read it, though, since I can't keep renewing it...

  2. Yeah, you do have to be in the right mood. Maybe that was why I didn't like it much. I'll be interested to see what you think!


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