Suddenly I See

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Little Bee"

Author: Chris Cleave

I finished "Little Bee" a couple of weeks ago. I have been wanting to read it for awhile since I have heard so many great things about it. I got it for Christmas and just got around to reading it. I was not disappointed. It was heart wrenching, moving, sad, hopeful, and at times even funny. I am not always a huge fan of using a great deal of metaphors in novels but I loved the usage of them in this book. They were timely, illustrative, and (maybe why I liked them most) very understandable.

Here are a few of the excerpts that I enjoyed most.

"On the girl's brown legs there were many small white scars. I was thinking, Do these scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress? I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived. In a few breaths' time I will speak some sad words to you. But you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now. Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then se will turn around and smile."

"On our honeymoon we talked and talked. We stayed in a beachfront villa, and we drank rum and lemonade and talked so much that I never even noticed what the color of the sea was. Whenever I need to stop and remind myself about how much I once loved Andrew, I only need to think about this. That the ocean covers seven tenths of the earth's surface, and yet my husband could make me not notice it. That is how big he was to me. "

"Everyone in my village liked U2, I said. Everyone in my country maybe. Wouldn't that be funny, if the oil rebels were playing U2 in their jungle camps, and the government soldiers were playing U2 in their trucks. I think everyone was killing everyone else and listening to the same music. Do you know what? The first week I was in the detention center, U2 were number one here too. That is a good trick about this world, Sarah. No one likes each other, but everyone likes U2."
"Isn't it sad, growing up? You start off like my Charlies. You start off thinking you can kill all the baddies and save the world. Then you get a little older, maybe Little Bee's age, and you realize that some of the world's badness is inside of you, that maybe you are a part of it. And then you get a little bit older still, and a bit more comfortable, and you start wondering whether that badness you've seen in yourself is really all that bad at all."
"I smiled down at Charlie, and I understood that he would be free now even if I would not. In this way the life that was in me would find its home in him now. It was not a sad feeling. I felt my heart take off lightly like a butterfly and I thought, yes, this is it, something has survived in me, something that does not need to run anymore, because it is worth more than all the money in the world and its currency, its true home, is the living. And not just the living in this particular country or in that particular country, but the secret, irresistible heart of the living. I smiled back at Charlie and I knew that the hopes of this whole human world could fit inside one soul. This is a good trick. This is called globalization. "
One thing I really like about this book was the way that the author gave each character a "costume" and how they slowly took it off throughout the story. I thought that it showed the characters growth in a clear way and helped to shape the ending of the story. I also loved how each character had their own "voice". While it did make it a bit difficult to read at times it really framed the characters. It made them authentic. I particularly loved Charlie's little boy way of speaking. It gave a lot to the story that a four year old spoke as one really would and Nigerian women spoke English in their true accents. I suggest you read this book. It's haunting but worth it.

One review puts it best "A powerful piece of art... Shocking, exciting and deeply affecting... superb. (The Independent UK)

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Sounds good. May I borrow that next time I see you?