I received this book, Little Bee, as part of a Sephora mailing they sent to beauty editors to launch their new summer beach collection. While the major event that sets the story in motion does take place on a beach, reading about it didn’t particularly motivate me to slather on some of their Divine Oil and go for a frolic in the sand.
The name of the book, the cover and even the cutesy, cryptic description (It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.) had me thinking this was going to be an easy, breezy book. Boy, was I wrong and I figured that out somewhere in the middle of the first, mildly graphic death scene.
That said, I did read it in one sitting- which is something I haven’t done in a very long time. It’s a good book, but when I finished around midnight last night, I had to distract my mind by hitting up a few fashion blogs before turning in for the evening.
In addition to the rather intense plot, author Chris Cleave develops some very complicated characters. Cleave puts each of the main players in just enough of a positive light to make you desperately want to like each one of them, but they are all so deeply flawed (and so unaware of their flaws) that it’s difficult to warm up to any. I’m even annoyed by Batman, a three year old, for all the little things he does that any child who doesn’t know any better would do. The only character I really liked was a Jamaican girl whose role spans only about one and a half chapters in the novel.
But it’s this constantly being on edge that propels the reader to keep turning pages. It’s a good book and deals with some serious issues without too much sensationalism. If you are to bring this novel on your next beach vacation, do make sure to apply some high SPF sunscreen because most likely you’ll forget to reapply after a couple of pages into the book.