The good: This book touches on some serious stuff. War in Africa. Definitely not a light read. But certainly something that is happening for real and it does not hurt to be aware of the reality of what some children face in Africa right now. This book made me heart break a little bit. I say this as a good thing, because although it was fictional - it made me want to find out what I could do to help the people who are facing the situations that were described in the book. Poverty, civil war, and brutality. Words on a page to you and me - but for many they are reality. This book made me feel. That is always a plus for me.
Another plus - Little Bee was an amazing character. She was strong and believable.
Oh, and I found a few wonderful quotes in Cleave's writing:
Death, of course, is a refuge. It's where you go when a new name, or a mask and cape, can no longer hide you from yourself. I's where you run to when none of the principalities of your conscience will grant you asylum.
That disaster, when it is quite sure of it's own strength, will announce itself by hardly moving it's lips?
And my personal favorite:
That is a good trick about this world, Sarah. No one likes each other, but everyone likes U2.
The bad: I was hesitant to pick up this book at first because of the cheesy little "hook" they put on the back cover to try and get you interested in reading it. "We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it..." It goes on for a bit about how awesome the book is and how magically it unfolds. Yes, the book was good. But it would've helped to put a little more about what the book was about and then let the reader decide how incredible it is. I don't think that they needed a "gimmick" for this one...
Another problem - I found Sarah quite despicable. Oh and Lawrence... even worse. I disliked those characters very much. Not sure if this is a negative - again, Cleave made me feel a strong emotion for these characters. Good writing does that.
The verdict: Put this one back on the shelf if you are looking for a light-hearted summer read. If you're looking for a book to make you feel, cry, and ache - that's what you'll get with Little Bee.