Thursday, June 7, 2012

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Have you ever dated a guy or gone out with a guy, and everything about him was good: a family that you could deal with, he went to a college that you respect, he's the right height, right build, dependable, has a career that he loves, gets along with all of your friends, he's kind, considerate etc, and for some reason that you can't identify, something is just not right. You'll continue to go out with him and spend time with him, but for some reason, something is missing.

Well, that is how I feel about the novel Little Bee. This novel has all of the things that makes for a great novel: good writing, characters that I kinda relate to, and a decent story line, but something is missing.

The first line of the novels states "Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming." Chris continues to talk about the British pound coin and it's great life. Then he starts to talk about the life of Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee who is in an immigration detention center, and her not so great life. 

Now, doesn't that sound like a comparison that would draw a reader in? Well, this did draw me in, but as I was reading, something still was missing..........

The main characters are Little Bee, Sarah, Charlie, Andrew, and Lawrence. However, the characters do not seem believable. Little Bee's character does not act like a refugee who is afraid that she could be deported any day. She has a very twenty-first century European girl personality. Sarah, does some things like sleeping with a man  in her house a few days after her husbands dies. Maybe this does happen in real life, but I really hope that it doesn't. Charlie is the son of Sarah and Andrew and this character is completely consumed with Batman, and it's overdone to a point of annoyance. Andrew was the husband of Sarah, and the character that I related to the most; however, he is the character that the reader only meets through the mind of Sarah. Lawrence is a character that I wanted to identify with, but for some reason, I just couldn't do it. Something with all of the main characters was missing..........

The storyline could have really been great. There were parts when I was reading, and I thought, "This could not be happening," and I would keep on reading. Then, this story takes one of those turns where everything, and I mean everything, seems unbelievable. It seems like he was writing this book so that one day it could be a movie.

At the end of the novel, Little Bee laughs as Andrew goes out to play with children who are fascinated by his whiteness, while she is probably about to be killed. This part really made me want to gag. At this point in the novel, Little Bee reminds me of the Uncle Tom character from the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Something was missing for this to be a great novel, ok novel, but not a great novel..........

This novel was recommended by two of my favorite neighbors: Ed and Jerry Bernier. I want to hear from you guys about your thoughts, about my thoughts, about this book.

Ed and Jerry Bernier

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