I have vehemently tried to get all my friends to join my book club because I truly believe there is no more fun way to spend a Sunday night. Great food, catching up with friends, intelligent conversation and lots and lots of wine: perfection.
Despite my efforts, only one of the nuts has caved to join in the experience, and she loves it. So, this book of the month is brought, in partnership, by Kate who selected this novel for our club at one of our summer meetings.
Chris Cleave is a London novelist who received critical acclaim for his first novel Incendiary which is told through a letter, written to Osama Bin Laden, from a middle class woman who lost her husband and son in a “9-11” type attack.
Cleave writes in a woman’s voice again for his second novel, named Little Bee in North America, and The Other Hand in the UK.
The book jacket is enticing saying that it doesn’t want to reveal the plot of the story because that would in turn spoil it. Like any good secret kept on the playground, naturally, that makes you want to find out all the more what they’re hiding.
So I suppose it would be unfair for me to detail the plot and ruin the intrigue that held me when I first opened the pages of the book.
What I will tell you is that this story juxtaposes the lives of a Nigerian girl (Little Bee) who’s known indescribable violence in her homeland, with the opposite existence of working mom, Sarah Summers, who lives with her husband, in London.
The two women’s paths cross in a horrific and unthinkable incident while Sarah and her husband attempt to repair their marriage with a vacation to a beach, in Nigeria.
The story explores humanity and what lengths you would go to for a complete stranger. It’s also a story of personal strength and a brutal world that is hard to picture when living in a place like Canada. One of my favourite aspects of the book was how it explored the failings of a marriage and a unique bond between mother and son.
While at times the plot seems a little unbelievable, I really enjoyed it. It read like a thriller and I would definitely consider it “a page turner”. Cleave keeps the story pretty unpredictable and switches points of view between Sarah and Little Bee for every chapter. In conclusion, this read had two key points I look for in books: 1) it made me think and 2) I would recommend it to a friend for a good read.
I’ve heard that the story is being turned into a movie and will star Nicole Kidman as Sarah. You can bet that it will be a movie that this book-lover will make sure she sees.
If you ever have any suggestions for good reads please leave us a comment!!