September 18, 2010

Little Bee :: Chris Cleave

Title: Little Bee
Author: Chris Cleave
Read: NYC
Format: Trade paperback

Little Bee is about a young Nigerian refugee who makes her way to the United Kingdom and tracks down a young couple with whom she shared a traumatic experience on a beach in Nigeria. In its telling, the story is told in alternating voices: that of Little Bee herself and Sarah (the wife in the aforementioned British couple - her husband has recently died).

Now, here's the thing with this book. I liked it well enough while I was reading it. I wanted to know what happened to Little Bee and the British couple in Nigeria. I also wanted to know what would happen to them now that she is squirreled away with Sarah in England (illegally). But something sat funny with me while I was reading, despite the fact that I was actually engaged.

Once I finished and knew what was what, I became more aware of what was nagging at me. It was a couple of things:

1) Sarah did not seem to be too torn up over her husband's death; I found this unbelievable regardless of the circumstances/challenges of their marriage
2) I got a little of that exoticism that I disliked in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in the voice of Little Bee
3) I don't like when men write women in first person; I think at best it is natural (very rare), at worst it is offensive
4) So much build up (intriguing histories to be uncovered, intriguing futures to be planned), but it all falls kind of flat upon resolution

I don't want to dog on Little Bee completely. I enjoyed reading it. I just wasn't super thrilled with it once it was all over.

A quick, engrossing read, but not without some (annoying) flaws.
3 out of 5 stars

1 comment:

  1. This guy is lame. See's the glass as half empty rather than half full. Criticizes author's works on an online page. Probably sits on his ass and claims to have the credibility to be able to call the flaws of a writer's work "annoying"
    Realistically "mendoza!" is a class A douchebag