Little Bee: Can’t Tell You Nada ’bout It.
I like your marketing. Well done.
You have more mystique than an Apple launch.
The cover on the back tells you: “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.”
It’s like an engraved invitation to a page turner.
But how to review it without violating some secret Little Bee pact?
Some of our own BookSnobs have suggested this book and I have passed it again and again. The motivating factor? A woman in my book store who, unsolicited, said “Best book I read all year” while I had it in my hands. But the second reason was more powerful. Chris Cleave wrote a *stupendous* book named Incendiary that I recommended again and again. It was also terrifying subject matter and a real page turner. So, I jumped in.
But how to describe a book where you can’t really tell what it is about?
Um, it doesn’t really matter because I am not strongly recommending you read this book.
If your book group selects it, never fear, you will enjoy it and have a great discussion. But I’m pretty confident it won’t be the ‘best book you have read all year’. (I digress: I suggested to the women she read Let the Great World Spin…is she out blogging about what a lame recommender I am???)
The first 100 pages you really can’t put this book down. Right around there, when you are taken to the scene in Africa which I can’t tell you about but I can assure you, is a bit harrowing, I had to put the book down two times. I literally was collecting myself a bit. The writing is that crisp, suspenseful and captivating. It captures you like a movie captures you–blocking your eyes from a potentially threatening scene, waiting for it to be over.
But by page 200, you can’t help thinking that none of this could be even remotely real. It is kind of bizarre story built on a bizarre story built on a bizarre story. And it lost its impact.
So, how is that for unsatisfying?
You don’t know what the book is about at all, do you?
Okay, well, fughedabout the Little Bee secret pact. Here is the broad strokes. Woman on vacation with husband in Nigeria trying to save their marriage. On the beach, they run into locals who threaten them and two young Nigerian girls they encountered at the same time. Tough choices are made as to who is saved, hurt or otherwise. The story picks up with young Nigerian woman stealing away illegally to England and reconnecting with couple. Not exactly the ideal situation for a reunion. Small son involved adds to the anxiety.
Well, if you can’t stand not knowing what happens–definitely will be a page turner for August. But can’t say it is light beach reading.
Otherwise, I say take one step back and pick up Cleave’s Incendiary. But bear in mind you need an iron stomach for that one too.