I have wanted to read this book since it first came out a year ago. Of course, there are about a thousand books a year that I can place in the exact same category. That is where book club comes in. I am going to be discussing this one with my Skype Book Club in March. This book made the year end lists of several of my favorite bloggers in 2009.
I am all about not giving away too much on the jacket of a book, so I was amused to start my usual quick skim with hands half covering my eyes when I started reading this:
WE DON’T WANT TO TELL YOU TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS BOOK.
It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn’t. And it’s what happens afterward that is most important. Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.
There are so many harrowing scenes in this book and on more than one occasion I was reading with tears streaming down my cheeks. But there is so much wit and humour too, it really does carry the story and gives a profound sense of hope.
My one concern was the idea of a white male journalist giving voice to the two female characters, a young Nigerian girl and a white British magazine editor. Cleave was brave to take this on and did a superb job. I loved Little Bee, her strength, her heart and her intelligence.
It has been a long time since a book has moved me to tears, and even longer since one this length (375 pages) has been compelling enough to read in a single sitting, forcing me to stay up late into the night to finish it.
This book is one long emotional roller coaster. The horrific lows enhanced in intensity by the touching, laugh out loud highs.
I’m looking forward to reading and discussing this one.