I read the blurb on the back of the book, and I expected some transcendent event that "unfolded" the "magic of the story".
Not so much. The book was an overwrought, overly introspective examination of Africa and the global response to the problems there.
The story centers around a character named Little Bee, who is from Nigeria. She and her sister are caught in a horrific series of events on a beach that change the trajectory of their lives. Also on the beach that day is a British couple trying to save their marriage. Each person is changed by the goings on at the beach and the rest of the story consists of each character dealing with that horrific event.
There are some memorable quotes in the book and some insightful internal dialogue from the characters, but I waited in vain for magic that never came. About 2/3 of the way through, I was ready to leave these characters behind. It was not a horrible book, but not an excellent one either.
If you would like to read an excellent book about Africa, go get "What is the What".
This book is being pushed EVERYWHERE. Amazon, Borders, etc, etc. So I picked it up. Was immediately suspicious of the "secretive non-plot blurb" on the back and when my gut rang it's warning bell, I should have heeded it.
This book was a train wreck that I just couldn't not look away from. It was sad, demoralizing, horrific and depressing. I kept waiting for the tide to turn and for things to start to lighten. I pushed through because I felt I needed to be reminded of the atrocities that happen all around us, all the time.
As a piece of literature it was clunky and stilted and several parts unbelievable (and I'm not talking about the atrocities...I'm talking about the "normal" life happenings).
If you enjoy books that are about social injustices, death and globalization then by all means, pick this one up. If that's not your cup of tea, stay far, far away from Little Bee.
Many of the characters in this book annoyed me: Charlie and his pitiful speech patterns, Lawrence's flatness, and Sarah for being that uber-annoying my-son-can-do-no-wrong mommy on the playground who goes around being a victim in life. Little Bee was the best character, and there were some surprises to her persona.
Okay, so you learn in creative writing class about adding some foreshadowing, but there should be a limit. You shouldn't allude to something a million times before you actually tell about it, or you risk having your readers fill in the blanks and become bored. That's what this book did for me about the incident in Nigeria. Of course, we all realized what had happened to Sarah and Little Bee before it was revealed halfway through the book.
The book jacket promises some kind of magical feeling will come over you when you read it and that you'll generally become a better person. I guess that happened when I wrapped it up and sent it to another reader!
If you're just feeling much too chipper, this is the book for you. This book tells the tale of horrific fear torture in Nigeria, and the self-centered lives of the young elite in London. Every single man in the book is evil, and there is no redemption for a young Nigerian girl who escapes to London. The cover blurb promises something of a happy ending, but it isn't to be found unless you call one child sacrificing herself for another, "happy". If something good starts to happen for this poor girl, you can bet that the next page will contain another horror for her. This is a very depressing book. Be sure to take your anti-depressant before reading.
OK, I have to admit I was lured in by the intriguing cover and the hype...and yet as I was paying at the register I had a nagging feeling that I should put it back... that I'm usually disappointed with many of the books that get so much focus from vendors. So at least I wasn't disappointed in that regard! I do have to say though that I liked Cleave's ability to distinguish Sarah and Little Bee - and not just because their storytelling voice was every other chapter! He captured a different rhythm and cadence to their voices and I knew easily who was speaking. And I liked Little Bee immensely. I've had a 4 year old, and while he wore odd clothes on a regular basis - he didn't ALWAYS speak incorrectly! Lawrence and Sarah both left me bored, annoyed, blah. Overall a huge disappointment.