Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thinking

     I am a member of two book clubs, one that meets with food and wine and the other is three of us, meeting through letters and emails.  Both groups are reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave.  The in-person group met this past Monday  night and I wasn't able to go.  My wee girl had gymnastics and my teenager had an at-home soccer game.  I make it to every home game I can because, well, because I want to be there.  My husband had a theatre group performing at the exact same time these other events were going on so I didn't make it to book club or yoga for that matter.  Life is crazy busy and wonderful! 
     I digress as this post isn't about how busy my Monday was but my reading of Little Bee!  The only reason book club comes into the conversation is that I'm sad I was not there to be part of the conversation about this book.  I'm not ready to review it yet as I still have three chapters to go but last night I went to a very casual fund-raiser for our local food bank and ran into another book club member.  I asked her about Little Bee and what she thought.  She said she wasn't quite finished with it but she didn't like it.  I was a little shocked!  It is well-written and she is a retired English teacher but there was more to it.  She said from the very beginning she was hesitant because she knew it was going to have yucky stuff in it.  Yucky stuff being the real life trauma Little Bee and other immigrants experience-first in their own countries and then again trying to immigrate.  I'm not picking on my book club friend but it did start me to thinking; Are some books just to real???  Too gritty!!  Too filled with the reality of how harsh our world is?? 
     I love the story Chris Cleave tells-it is fiction yet the horrors of her experience are very real.  I also loved Ismael Beah's A Long Way Gone; memoirs of a boy soldier!  Do your prefences run towards gritty?  Or do you prefer milder fiction?  Not so much real life mixed into your fiction?  Just curious...

7 comments:

  1. Happy to know that your life is busy and fulfilling!

    As to your question, I think, for me, sometimes I can deal with gritty and sometimes it is too much. Not really an answer is it? I have heard that same comment about this Little Bee from several people and then there are the ones who loved it, noticed but felt it was necessary for the narrative. Again, for me, it probably depends on what else is going on in my life. Sometimes I have to set a book aside for a time and then get back to it. Sometimes I don't read it at all. Sometimes I sail right through and am grateful that I got the opportunity to be engaged in the story.

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  2. This book was gritty, but I loved it!

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  3. I'm not afraid of gritty ... I don't read gritty exclusively but we can't live with our heads in the sand, can we?

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  4. I definitely don't run toward the gritty - and I hardly ever read nonfiction. Reading, for me, is mostly about pleasure and escape, but every now and then I do feel compelled to read something that will rip my world apart. Not very often though!

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  5. I really liked Little Bee. I'm okay with gritty if it fits into the story, which it did in this case. I don't shield myself away from the gritty cuz I know it's out there. I will choose lighter books once in a while as a break, but mostly I won't stay away from a book because of harsh topics it contains. I'll be curious to read your review of this book.

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  6. My book club also read this book and I LOVED it. I was shocked when I discovered some other members didn't like it at all. My reading has always leaned towards the gritty.

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  7. The gritty is what opens my eyes up more and more! It's good to know what is truly happening out in the world, to move beyond my own borders, and realize that life is hard . . . VERY hard for some! And, they turn out being still so positive. I have not yet read this book, but I've added it to my list of TBR. I can't wait to read your review!!

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