Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Little Bee

A couple weeks ago, when Borders was going out of business, I picked up a handful of books at a discounted price.
Little Bee, by Chris Cleave, was #2 on the Best Seller's List, but I knew nothing about it.
The back cover was of no assistance, and yet, it drew me in:

"We don't want to tell you what happens in this book.
It is a truly special story and we don't want to ruin it.
Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this.
This is a story of two women.
Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face.
Two years later, they meet again- the story starts there.
Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. 
When you do, please don't tell them what happens.
The magic is in how the story unfolds."

Here's the problem.  
While it was a solid read, Little Bee did not deliver on the promises made on its back cover.
In truth, it was a dime a dozen story about a refugee girl who escapes to London and the British family she affects.
In truth, there is no "magic" in how the story unfolds, and I probably would have liked it better if I wasn't duped into believing it had some mysterious & secretive ending.
I don't know whether to curse the author's cunning back page paragraph or praise it.
At the end of the day, this book held some brilliant ideas, but set itself up for failure by creating expectations it could not meet.

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