Wednesday, April 21, 2010


     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...