Saturday, April 30, 2011

Book Review: The Other Hand aka Little Bee

found here

I bought this book back in the Summer of 2009 when I was in England. The bookstore was having a buy one get one half off sale and I really wanted to read "My Sister's Keeper," so I sprang for both. The back of the book intrigued me. I got "The Other Hand," which apparently is the UK title for the book. I picked it up, but never ended up finishing it. Then I hear all this buzz about a book called "Little Bee" and I think to myself, "That sounds familiar." Lo and behold, it's the same book! So I pick it up again, start reading it, and put it down without finishing it. Finally, last week after finishing "The Help," I decided that I just needed to finish the darn thing already. I started the book again from the beginning and I finally did it, I finished it.

Brief plot summary:
A Nigerian girl meets a wealthy British couple who are on a "holiday" in Nigeria one day. A traumatic event occurs and the British couple flee back home. Five years pass, and they hear from the Nigerian girl again. More traumatic events happen. The girl and the wife spend some time together. The novel ends with another traumatic event.

My opinion:
The back of the book told me that this story was unique, compelling, and one of a kind. I am assuming they put this on the back of the cover to get people to read it. Well played marketing department, well played. I enjoyed the first part of the book and felt that it was compelling. There is one part of the book that I found particularly insightful, when Little Bee is talking about scars and how they are beautiful because they meant that the person bearing them survived. It was pretty deep stuff. However, I felt supremely let down by the ending of the book. I felt like the book just sort of fizzled out and then I was left thinking "Was that it? The end of the book?!" Maybe I had too high of an expectation of the book because the back of the book was so intriguing: "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[...] Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds." Who wouldn't be intrigued by that?! My overall rating of the book is a 3/5 because the book did hold me until the last few chapters!

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