That is a horrible plot summary. I am having a hard time writing this review. Nymeth posted recently about the fetishism and romanticism of tragedy in books, specifically of Sylvia Plath’s suicide, and that’s sort of how I feel about Little Bee. Not about Cleave’s portrayal – I think he treats the material carefully and does great things to shed light on a problem I had no idea existed – but about my own feelings towards the book. Because I love for really dreadful things to happen, I love when authors throw their characters under the bus. Tragically tragical books are my bee’s knees, and most of the time I’m ok with it.
Maybe it’s because this is something I’ll never have to deal with? Canada is probably not going to try to kill me. I think my white, middle-class guilt might be getting in the way of my usual delight when books conform to how crappy and devastating life is, because my life will never be this crappy and devastating. I dunno, kids.
The book itself is great, eight-caterpillars-style. It’s my own ambivalence that is rocking this boat. What think you?
(Also, I know the book has been marketed all as, We’re not going to tell you anything about Little Bee because that would ruin it, which sets you up for a Fingersmith-style mind-bender, which this is not. It’s a good, decent book. This sort of marketing ploy sets up, not high expectations, but wrong expectations. Little Bee will not change your life or break your brain. Please re-set your expectations to ‘average.’)