Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Review and Give Away: Little Bee (Chris Cleave)

Title: Little Bee
Author: Chris Cleave
Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 266
Rating: 5 out of 5
Challenges: Where Are You Reading, PoC, What's in a Name (size), Awesome Authors
FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a gift
Summary (from the back of the book): This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of htem has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again--their story starts here.... Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.

Review: Wow. How to review this book and still follow the directive on the back of the book.... This is going to be tough. I read this book for my MUS Moms book group and boy am I glad that we picked it! We are a group that likes to read books based in countries outside the US (check), that deal with interesting issues (check), and that can stir up a discussion (check). I think it will be easier to do this review as a series of short statements so that I am not tempted to give too much away.
  • Characters--one woman is British and in her early 30s while the other is a 16-year-old Nigerian. There are a few periphery characters as well but their purpose really is to reveal the story of these two women. From the beginning I was pulled into their story and I liked the way the chapters alternated points of view between the two women. Cleave has done a great job of giving each woman her own voice through accent, word choice, and attitude.
  • Setting--I liked that this took place in both Nigeria and Britain (more on that below in my new feature). The descriptions weren't flowery and gave the reader just enough information to form an image of where the characters were for each "scene"
  • Plot--O.M.G. This is the part I can't expound upon. I know that seems crazy, but if you know anything about the plot it will ruin the book when you read it. Just know that it follows the relationship between these two women as their lives collide at two separate times. Every decision each woman makes determines the direction both lives take. 
Geography Connection:
I am participating in the Where Are you Reading challenge hosted by Sheila at Book Journey so I am posting this to my Google Map. In addition, I liked Rebecca of I'm Lost in Books' idea of listing books related to a country or people each week. So, I've decided to add a little paragraph to each review that I am calling the Geography Connection. And, who am I kidding? I love maps and geography and travel so this fits right in with who I am!

Little Bee takes place in both Great Britain (in and around London) and in Nigeria. Honestly, when I think of Nigeria I think of blood diamonds, oil, and an African nation that is doing better than most. I had no idea they had beautiful beaches like the one below; there were many more beautiful photos of Nigerian beaches, but this one seemed to fit the description of the one in the book (beach with jungle). And the London Eye is one of the only well-known London feature mentioned in the book.

Other books I've read and enjoyed in the last couple of years based in these two countries:

18 comments:

Ammy Belle said...

Thanks for the review - this has been on my TBR pile for a while.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Loved your review and made me remember how much I liked this book. Well Done Helen!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I like your idea of a "geography connection" within book reviews. I'm also a map person, which is probably why I started Book Around the World and Book Around the States.

:D

Helen's Book Blog said...

Ammy Belle--Oh, definitely pull it off the TBR pile and read it soon!

Diane--I'm glad you think my review did it justice, thank you!

Bonnie--It's amazing how much more work the Geography Connection was, but I liked doing it. I'll go right now and post the link to your book Around the World

reviewsbylola said...

I bought this one awhile back and am excited to read it. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to review this one given the publisher's blurb.

reederreads said...

I read this book in 2010 and it was one of the most fascinating books I've ever read! Great review :)

Alyce said...

I love the Geography Connection! I'm doing that challenge too, but will be doing good just to keep up with the main map. :)

Helen's Book Blog said...

Lola--One of the things I really liked about the book was that I had no idea what was coming so I thought it was really important to keep that in mind when I wrote the review.

Reederreads--Thank you! I think it's one that will stick with me for a long time. Issues of immigration and human rights are so huge

Alyce--Thank you for supporting the Geography Connection idea!

Amanda said...

I wasn't as blown away by this one, but I did enjoy it. I thought it was a solid read but other than that, I didn't get much out of it. I'm glad you loved it though!

Helen's Book Blog said...

Amanda--I think I read this book at just the right time for me to get the most out of it. Having just started up the non-profit Turn the Page Uganda I've got all-things Africa on my brain. Also, a young man from the slums of Kampala just arrived a couple days ago to live with my friend so I am seeing the US through his eyes.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I posted your link on Book Around the World (finally): http://bookaroundtheworld.blogspot.com/2011/01/nigeria-and-england.html

Veens said...

Sounds fabulous. Great review.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Bonnie--Thanks for posting my review to your perpetual challenge!

Veens--Thanks!

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Hello! I was led to your review through the PoC Reading Challenge (our blog is also participating). I love how cryptic your descriptions of the characters and the plot are - I suppose one of my weaknesses when I write reviews is that I reveal too much (or sometimes too little). I am drawn to the notion of two women from different worlds whose lives intersect in some mysterious thread that can only be revealed by reading the book. My curiosity is piqued. Hope to read this book soon.
- Myra

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Helen's Book Blog said...

Myra--I accidentally posted your comment twice so deleted the repeat. I had to be cryptic on this one or it ruins the book for people. I hope you get to read this soon, it's worth it

Scribacchina said...

I was looking for a book to read for the size category in What's in a name challenge and I found your review. Wow it sounds a great book (too bad I only saw the giveaway today!)
And I love your Geography connection!!!

Helen's Book Blog said...

I really enjoyed Little Bee, obviously. Thank you for the positive input on Geography Connection!