Friday, November 18, 2011

Book review: Little Bee

A few weeks ago, I read a book which, as one of the cover blurbs promised it would, blew me away.  The book was Little Bee, by Chris Cleave (published in the UK under the title The Other Hand).  I was just so awestruck at the power of Cleave's ability to narrate the story from the point of view of several things he, as a white British male, is not: a middle-aged woman, and a young, black Nigerian girl.  I found the story absolutely riveting, and the mixture of sadness and humor captured to me the perfect blend of the simultaneous wonder and beauty, and sometimes harsh and painful, reality of life.  Even though I finished it about three weeks ago, I haven't really stopped thinking about it, namely due to one of the plotlines that ran through the book, that of the 4-year-old son, Charlie, who seemed to live, night and day, in his Batman costume.  In Little Bee, Charlie would often refer to himself as Batman, and there was some over-construction (in my opinion) by the author of Charlie's adolescent grammatical errors. 

Since Halloween, our household has also had a Batman, but fortunately Blake has only wanted to wear his costume on three occasions: Halloween, when his friend Ethan came over to play on Wednesday, and today, when his nursery had a fancy dress day in aid of Children in Need.  Blake is also very insistent, whenever I go into role-play mode and ask him what strangers on the street will think when they see Batman running down the road, that he isn't Batman; "I'm just Blake," he says with insistency!  Oh, right, I think, no more pretending then. 

Here are some photos from Halloween (ahem, somewhat belatedly!), and today's costumes, accompanied by painted faces.  This is the first time I think Noah has had his face painted, and at certain angles he looked sooo old with his thin little pirate moustache!  Blake also seemed to take better care of his paint as Noah's looks extremely blurred in places.

Giving equal airtime to all the supermarkets...I didn't have any better bags for them but I figured if kids have been using grocery bags for years to collect Halloween candy, why not?!
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Noah's clothes are covered with yogurt, and Blake sports a fetching high-waisted belt look.  
So, if you have the occasion to do so, I highly recommend Little Bee.  Matt then read it and didn't like it at all; he felt the characters were all 2-dimensional and he actually, one evening, stopped reading about 10 pages from the end to go to bed instead.  Something I don't think I could ever even imagine doing, but especially with a book that I just thought was a brilliant work.

As for our own big B, I hope that he's had a fun few days dressing as Batman.  Everyone kept wondering why Noah wasn't Robin!  With that, there's no more pretending that I'm anything but a tired, yet still pretty Super, Mommy.  Good night!

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