When I pick out books that I want to write about for this column, I try to pick interesting titles. Titles that will provoke, but will be a good read. Above all, if you take my recommendation I want to make sure that you like the book. It was with this in mind that I picked up “Little Bee”.
Here is the official synopsis: The publishers of Chris Cleave’s new novel “don’t want to spoil” the story by revealing too much about it, and there’s good reason not to tell too much about the plot’s pivot point. All you should know going in to Little Bee is that what happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple–journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday–who should have stayed behind their resort’s walls. The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, and that is where the story starts.
I have heard Little Bee described as funny, poignant, inspirational, and more. Except I wouldn’t use any of those words, and, in fact, couldn’t come up with a single good word about this book. I couldn’t even finish it, this is just how trite and contrived this whole book seemed to me.
There are some great books written about the failed states in Africa, and the personal toll it takes on the people. This isn’t one of them. Yet, it ends up on many editors “Best of 2010” list. And so I can only offer up my own personal opionion. The story meanders without a real need, the characters cookie cutters representations of what we expect someone from Nigeria, London, or Indian to be. If it aims to make a point that bad things happen in Africa, it does it poorly.
And now to my rating system:
Buy it NOW!– this is reserved for the best books
Paperback on an Airplane– It’s a good read, but if you leave it in the seat, you won’t be crushed.
Borrow it– From the library or from a friend, that way if you don’t like it or don’t find it especially moving, as I suspect you might, you won’t have spent your hard earned money on it.
Wait for the movie – The book is awful, but it might make a great film.
Skip it altogether– I hated it, I think you will too.
For Little Bee – I am going with Skip it Altogether
For e-readers users- Don’t Download
The book is available here.
I am currently reading: Sh*t My Dad Says