A Sad Story That Lifted My Mood: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Little Bee
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was entrenched in a week-long really cruddy mood when I started this book. I’d been trying to read inspirational and uplifting stuff and it was just irritating me more. My perversity must exceed even my estimation because after spending most of this book in tears, I feel much better.

I surprised myself by reading this book in one day. I just couldn’t put it down. The kids loved it because it meant they got to watch an hour and a half of Wild Kratts DVDs in the middle of the week.

I always feel a little guilty when I read a book in such a short period of time because I hear the echo of all of the authors who, when interviewed, complain, “That book took me three years to write, and they finished it in a matter of hours?”

I think it’s a compliment, but perhaps I would feel differently if it was my book people were tearing through.

Early in the book, the two main characters have a conversation in which one espouses the belief that the world is full of danger and if something can go wrong, it will, while the other insists that the world is basically beautiful and kind and we can generally count on getting what we need. The tension created by this question pulled me along. Which would triumph, optimism or pessimism, the baddies or the goodies? And what would the fallout be in the wake of this battle?

Cleave did a beautiful job of showing the nuances of thought of the different characters, writing in the moments when two (or more) different thoughts exist in our minds at once, including our own perspectives along with our read of what others around us are thinking.

And the imagery. Have I mentioned the imagery? From a woman traveling as a British pound note to a bead of sweat dripping from beneath a Batman mask, I felt like I was transcending the words and actually just experiencing this book.

View all my reviews

And for those of you who wondered how my poll turned out, here is the answer.

I think The Buddha in the Attic might be next. I’ve got to rush to get my reading in before NaNoWriMo eats up my free time (by which I mean the time I might otherwise be sleeping).

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