I didn’t do a “new read” post about Little Bee by Chris Cleave because I started it on Christmas Eve and was too busy that day to sit and write. There was so much to do and so much fun to be had. Let’s not talk about how many cookies there were to eat…which I did. I’m not proud of it, but let’s just say it was worth every calorie.
Little Bee came to me by last year’s book windfall. I knew nothing about it when I pulled it out of one of the boxes, but the cover drew my attention and the quote from The New York Time Book Review, “Immensely readable and moving…and affecting story of human triumph,” made it sound promising.
And it was. With most modern novels it takes time before I being to enjoy the story. With this one, I immediately fell in love with the characters by the end of chapter two. And then they began to break my heart by chapter three. How did he do that? The man revealed things, bit by bit, in such a subtle way…exquisite.
From the back cover, “Once you 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.”
They were right. I looked up from the book each time I put it down thinking, you need to read this…and so do you. It’s…wow…
But how does one beseech another to read a beautifully painful story that will change you, without telling you what it’s about? I guess the same way I decided to pick it up and read it, by showing it to you and hoping you choose wisely, letting the universe bring it to you like it was brought to me.
The book changed me. I set it down when I finished it and sighed. All those people, so many story lines, so much to learn, so much depth. What would I do if I were in their shoes? The whole thing knocked me off my stride that day and the next.
Last night, my husband and I sat in front of the fireplace with a drink and talked about it. He’s not a reader of novels, so I can give it all away as much as I please. I’m ruining nothing for him. It was a beautiful conversation.
This is what a good book does. It touches you and leaves you scarred in the most amazing ways. That’s all I have to tell you about my last novel of 2021.
What are you doing this week? Did you have to go back to work? Or are you spending the week on vacation? The seven days between Christmas and New Year’s always feels like a non-week, it doesn’t seem to exist, not really. Anything can happen.
I’m excited for the new year to come, but it’s not for the typical reasons. I’ve never been much of a party person. Even when I was younger, the only time I was out on New Year’s Eve was to work. So, my anticipation doesn’t hang on the evening’s festivities. What I’m looking forward to is going through my books and tallying up what I read this year. I know…nerd.
As I have the last several years, I’ll spend New Year’s Day going through old journals, notes, and posts and writing myself a review. This year I think I’ll write a few headlines and summaries, practice writing some brilliant leads into the story that was my 2021.
Side note: When can we stop writing and saying “20-something” and go back to ’21 like we did way back in the 1900’s? I think it’s this year, right now. Stand by to welcome the birth of ’22 world! I can see the conversation thirty years from now. “Back in ’22. That’s when it all started.” Or “Let’s see…when was it that my life changed? Hmm… oh, yes! ’22! Pour me a shot of whiskey and I’ll tell you the story.”