little bee

Posted on September 19, 2010

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About a year ago,  I was wandering through Borders and this book caught my attention. After picking it up, I flipped it over to read the back cover. This is what I read:

We don’t want to tell you what happens in this book. It is truly a special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we’ll just say this:

This is the 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…

Sitting in the bookstore, I remember vividly my pulse quickening at the description. What could the book possibly be about if one is not supposed to speak about it once finished? Immediately I wrote the book in my list of future book purchases (because I do have one of those) & every time I saw the book on the shelf I’d pick it up – again – and read the back – again. Because of my promise to not buy a new book until I’ve finished the insurmountable stack on my nightstand, I’d always place it back where it belongs on the shelf.

Until this summer.

For my birthday, I received a gift card for Borders – and I instantly knew what I would get. I started reading Little Bee this past week, and finished it last night. Let me say this: go get this book. Now.

This year, I’ve read two books which made me want to get up and do something. In the words of Thoreau, it wasn’t enough for me to simply read – I needed to act on what I read. The words broke me and inspired me to remember the connection between us as human beings and how our “stories end up being the tellers of us.”
The Help was one of them – Little Bee is the other. It’s haunting. Beautiful. Disturbing.

I’m going to adhere to the author’s wishes and not tell you anything about the book – but I do want to close with the words of one of the narrators. Listen closely.

What is an adventure? That depends on where you are starting from. Little girls in your country, they hide in the gap between the washing machine and the refrigerator and they make believe they are in the jungle, with green snakes and monkeys all around them. Me and my sister, we used to hide in a gap in the jungle, with green snakes and monkeys all around us, and make believe we had a washing machine and a refrigerator. You live in a world of machines and you dream of things with beating hearts. We dream of machines, because we see where beating hearts have left us.

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Posted in: Book Review