Monday, October 3, 2011
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Book: Little Bee
Author: Chris Cleave
Recommended To: Book Clubs (maybe)
This book was recommended to me by a friend who was surprised that I hadn't read it yet. I did some searching on goodreads and discovered that most people either love or sort of like (three stars) this book.
It was definitely a three star book. The back of the book has an extremely short snippet about how the lives of two women intersect and then a "shocking revelation" or something happens afterward and the publisher "doesn't want to give it away." That is a LOT of hype. And, I'm not sure that the hype was accurate. The hype on the back made me expect a lot more from the book and it didn't deliver.
My biggest issue with this book was the enormous number of mashed together themes. It seemed like Cleave said "oh, I want to write a book for book clubs, here are a bunch of themes I could use." So, then instead of starting with a story, he started with the themes and tried to build the story around them. He was unsuccessful.
Parts of this story were shocking, but nothing was as shocking as the English woman, Sarah's, extreme naivete. She thought she could save Little Bee from her inevitable deportation and murder in Nigeria by going to Nigeria in the middle of an oil war with her four-year-old son. I do not respect characters that do incredibly stupid things. What an idiot. Here's the kicker: I'm sure one of Cleave's themes was NOT to have an idiot for a main character. Of course not. He thinks she's "morally flawed" or some such nonsense.
Anyway, save yourself the trouble on this book. It was a fast read and it had some shocking bits, but that just didn't make up for the poor writing, the convoluted themes, and a mediocre story.