Book Review – Little Bee

Little Bee is about the intermingling stories of Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee and Sarah, a British journalist. When their paths cross on Sarah’s unlikely vacation to a beach in Nigeria, the two begin the process of learning what they would do to save their families, their selves and humanity. Two years later, skeletons in the closet, their paths cross once again and the two are lead to put into action their beliefs while watching fate play out. Can they save each other? Can they save themselves?

Book 43 was recommended by a friend – one who actually nabbed the book for me since she already owned it. It falls into what is probably my current favorite genre based on what I’ve chosen to read this year and what I’ve loved reading this year, so I had no issue deciding to squeeze it in this December.

Book 43:
Little Bee
by Chris Cleave

Genre:
Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary

Published:
August 2008

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Little Bee is about the intermingling stories of Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee and Sarah, a British journalist. When their paths cross on Sarah’s unlikely vacation to a beach in Nigeria, the two begin the process of learning what they would do to save their families, their selves and humanity. Two years later, skeletons in the closet, their paths cross once again and the two are lead to put into action their beliefs while watching fate play out. Can they save each other? Can they save themselves?

Favorite Quote(s):

“Nkiruka loved music and now I saw that she was right because life is extremely short and you cannot dance to current affairs.” 

-Chris Cleave, Little Bee

Awards (based upon my brief research):
Costa Book Award Nominee for Novel (2008)
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction (2009)

Pages:
266

My Overall Rating:
3.5 – The story was great. It had all the right plot points, some elements of surprise, some characters who tugged at my heartstrings, but I felt like there could have been more. I could be wrong, but I think this type of action is a bit of an untapped market in the literary world, which makes me feel the author missed a teaching opportunity. I would have loved to learn more about what was going on in Nigeria at the time of the story. I would have loved to learn what the British thought of the situation. Instead, it felt like the reader was supposed to assume Nigeria was bad and refugees aren’t welcome elsewhere.

Book Review – All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See is about a German orphan and a blind French girl and their crossing paths through WWII. Marie-Laure flees Nazi occupied Paris with her father and a dangerous jewel per her father’s role at the Museum of Natural History. Werner, having proven his worth to the reich, gets snatched up early and sent to battle for his ability to track down the resistance by using math and building/fixing tracking instruments. As their stories collide, the reader  learns of the demands of war, the desire to do good and the devastation greed and power can cause.

Book 42 was a shared Little Free Library find from a friend and also the pick for December book club. It was intimidatingly large, but I cruised through in a week – partly because I had extra reading time and partly because I needed to know what happened.

Book 42:
All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

Genre:
Historical Fiction

Published:
May 2014

Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, All the Light We Cannot See is about a German orphan and a blind French girl and their crossing paths through WWII. Marie-Laure flees Nazi occupied Paris with her father and a dangerous jewel per her father’s role at the Museum of Natural History. Werner, having proven his worth to the reich, gets snatched up early and sent to battle for his ability to track down the resistance by using math and building/fixing tracking instruments. As their stories collide, the reader  learns of the demands of war, the desire to do good and the devastation greed and power can cause.

Favorite Quote(s):

“Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.” 

-Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

Awards (based upon my brief research):
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Goodreads Choice Awards Best Historical Fiction
Audie Award for Fiction

Pages:
530

My Overall Rating:
4 – I had some definite issues with the flow of this book. The alternating time periods were one thing, but the alternating viewpoints that required the reader to figure out whose viewpoint they were reading rather than stating it in the title of each chapter drove me nuts. However, this story is gold. I loved that it was a European WWII story that did not focus on concentration camps. I loved the main characters – their personalities, their strengths and weaknesses, their roles in the war. I loved the fictional/mythical aspect of the story in regards to the dangerous jewel involved.

This might have been a 5 if I wasn’t constantly trying to figure out who was speaking and how old they were at the time.