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A Missed Opportunity
An OK read but not strong enough for my book club. Far too predictable in places, child character stretching the boundaries of credibility with far too much 'product placement' (is Cleave hoping for a screen writing gig and/or movie deal?) The characters' voices wavered in their consistency and his timing missed reality by a long shot. His second book follows Little Bee's template precisely. Same structure, same child character (with the seemingly de rigeur product placement) same male/female characters. The more I write here the more I realize how much I dislike this writer's works. Not on of England's greatest efforts
Life is about our choices as "Little Bee" eloquently illustrates.
In an interview when the author is asked about his characters' choices on the Nigerian beach he replies, "Life is savagely unfair. It ignores our deep-seated convictions and places a disproportionate emphasis on the decisions we make in split seconds.". IMO, in addition to learning about Nigeria's people, culture and politics, this is the teaching point of this novel. One we all should remember when making choices. Bravo Chris Cleave!
I couldn't stop reading the book because I was hoping that at some point something has to go right.
I Dearly Loved This Wonderful and Moving Novel
The book was disturbing and depressing. It actually made it hard for me to sleep because it made me sick to my stomach.
The author can really write... But the stuff that he wrote was disturbing and I would have appreciated to know more about what the book is about on the back so you could be prepared for what you are about to read... Yuk. Did not like this book. Do not read if you would not like to be depressed. Unless you enjoy reading about suicide and people being tragically and disturbingly killed.
I was pulled into the story by Chris Cleave's very believable characters and beautiful use of language, and was astounded at how he was able to keep story from lagging, even while balancing two completely different narrators. I absorbed every word he wrote, and bought wholeheartedly into every part of the lives he created with this novel. They felt very real to me. The voices he lended to both Little Bee and Sarah were captivating, and I found I missed them immediately upon finishing the book. It was a great story, both uplifting and completely heartbreaking. I led the discussion of this novel at a book club and we had a wonderful meeting on everything from asylum seekers to the wars over natural resources and everything in between.
This book seems depressing in the first few chapters, but it digs into your psyche and holds on tight. The descriptive way this author writes is amazing. His comparisons to simple things in our American lives as seen through the eyes of someone so less fortunate is truly a gift. Before I read this book I had a low opinion of refugees, now I feel differently. We have so much in this country, things we take for granted every day, like food, shelter, freedom, choices.....not to even mention the fact that as women, we have so many more rights. We never think about the simple struggle for survival, and the fact that what refugees are truly seeking asylum from are horrors that most of us can never even imagine. This book opens our eyes to realities we perhaps don't want to see but cannot deny.
Nigeria, London, Little Bee, Sarah, Lawrence, Andrew, and Batman....all different lives all connected through good and bad situations.
Run,run to the store
Friendships, suicide, family life, choices, oil, and government...put these all together, and you have a powerful story about how lives intertwine and are touched no matter what the distance is between all parties.
The story is told by Little Bee, a sixteen-year-old Nigerian refugee and Sarah, a successful journalist....everything isn't given away at once, because the author lets both women "talk" to the reader about events.
The beginning pages are very clever and creative and you think it will be a funny book...it is intense.
You will be drawn into the story very easily, though, through excellent descriptions and situations. You will live and feel all the heartache, emotion, and fear of the circumstances for each character.
It is a powerful, thought-provoking novel.
All I need to say is this-I got so caught up in this heartstopping book that I missed both lunch and supper as I couldn't stop reading. It continued to haunt me the rest of the night and I quickly emailed my friends and ordered his previous book