☆ The Giver of Stars ☆ PDF Read by ☆ Jojo Moyes PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free

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❮Read❯ ➮ The Other Hand ➲ Author Chris Cleave – Cravenjobs.co.uk

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10 thoughts on “The Other Hand

  1. says:

    I wanted to like Little Bee. The reviews for it are exceptional. Book List starred it, Amazon named it among their “February Best of the Month” picks, O Magazine fondly mentions it. I mean come on, Library Journal labels it “the next Kite Runner” for goodness sakes! I couldn’t wait to be swept away. And I was… for the first couple of chapters. Little Bee’s character came on very strong and distinct. I felt like I could pick her out of a crowd and guess what she was thinking. But I gradually started rolling my eyes and questioning plot details and characterization.

    For example, Sarah’s mom and sister are briefly mentioned; they come to her house after the funeral, but she begs them to leave her alone. There’s no mention of their reaction to the fact that there is suddenly a Nigerian girl living at her house. ???

    Also, according to the timeline description it seems that Charlie begins wearing the Batman costume before his father passes. It would make more sense if he began wearing it after the passing based on his reasons for wearing it. ???

    And seriously, the cops caught Little Bee because she was at the scene of Charlie’s near disappearance? Seriously?

    Sarah’s relationship with Lawrence is odd, Charlie draws conclusions unbelieving for a four year old, and the ending is rushed and unmoving. There’s just this hokey feel to it that I couldn’t get past.

    This is the first time ever for me that I could tell that the author was not the same sex as his main characters, more so when it came to Sarah rather than Little Bee. The way Sarah thinks, the things she says, her observations, and even her interactions with her son just don’t make sense. It is clear that Cleave failed to unearth his female voice.

    Speaking of voice, Little Bee’s chapters were much more convincing and enjoyable than Sarah’s. The entire book written from Little Bee’s point of view would have probably been a much better read.

    I’m not giving this book only 1 star because it was too sad, or too graphic, or too haunting. It just fell flat. It wasn’t convincing. All the ends didn’t meet nor were all the i’s dotted, t’s crossed. It just didn’t do it for me, and it is most certainly NOT the next Kite Runner. Good grief, it doesn’t even compare.

  2. says:

    I would have ranked this higher, were it not for the ridiculous hype on the jacket and the annoying Editor's letter at the front; all of which tell me that is book will change my life, that it's a masterpiece. This book stands on its own without needing it.

    I also pretty fundamentally disagreed with the assertion that "it's hilarious - although the scene on the African beach is horrific".

    This is not a 'hilarious' book - it is one of the most challenging reads I have had this year. It tells the desperately tragic story of three people - two English and one Nigerian whose lives coincide in the most terrible way.

    Asylum and immigration in the UK are controversial topics in which media hysteria continually advocates that most asylum seekers are bogus. This book, which has been obviously extremely well researched, lays bare that lie; in a tight, devastating and tragic tale.

    Yes, this is a book that carries a very strong message and yes, this is a book that deserves to be read. Just try not to get too angry about the hype surrounding it - the subject deserves better.

  3. says:

    Chris Cleave's ability to float effortlessly between two distinct ethnic voices (Little Bee, a refugee from Nigeria, and Sarah, a young widow in England) as their stories spin out and around and through one another was nearly mystical.

    Years before this book opens, the lives of Sarah and Little Bee violently collided on a beach in Nigeria, and when sheer determination and courage bring them back together again every secret of their hearts is unfolded before our eyes.

    I found myself reading and rereading passages, just to fully appreciate the gravity of emotion packed in them. Little Bee's voice, particularly, is by turns wryly funny and wrenching. Nothing escapes her notice, a skill honed by the brutality she witnessed in her native country.

    I put this book down after finishing it this morning with the distinct feeling that it will haunt me for a very, very long time.


    "...I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.... Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive."

  4. says:

    In a way I feel sorry for Chris Cleave ... I wonder how he felt after seeing what the publishing and marketing machine crafted as the back cover promo copy for his book. Really. Not that I would have liked the book more had they not been so brash and marketing machine-y, but I may have given it more of a fair chance.

    “We don’t want to tell you WHAT HAPPENS in this book. It is a truly SPECIAL STORY and we don’t want to spoil it. NEVERTHELESS, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this. This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have t face. Two years later, they meet again—the story starts there… Once you’ve read it, you will want to tell your friends what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.”

    I cry foul. The story unfolds as other stories unfold. Nothing is surprising, nothing happens that you could not see coming chapters earlier. There is nothing new in this book ... not in terms of writing, not in terms of plot, not in terms of structure. I understand the publishing behemoth and the machinations it goes through to build a buzz. It’s just so full of itself sometimes that I want to scream into a pillow. And this was one of those times I wanted to scream into a pillow.

    LITTLE BEE is remarkably average. It is a book ripe for Oprah book club picking … if there’s a heart sting to pull, the author makes a go of it. But instead of tugging at my heartstrings, the book makes a relentless grab, the threads unraveling until any feeling I was holding for the characters was gone and I was left feeling threadbare. I know horrible things happen in Nigeria and countless other countries. I just didn’t like the parade of clichés rolled out by LITTLE BEE in an effort to drive home the point.

    No character was a surprise. Sarah is the young, strong, career-minded, wealthy, white, British woman who runs her own fashion magazine … struggling (ever-so-not-convincingly) with losing her former self as a "real" journalist . . . having a long-term affair with a man that began w/in 30 minutes of her meeting him . . . having a husband that kills himself after that "terrible choice" on that "fateful day" on the beach in Nigeria, where they were trying to "save their marriage" . . . having a son who ever-so-quirkily will only dress in Batman costume and insists on being called Batman (and who, at four or five, can’t seem to speak beyond the level of a 2-1/2 year old). I couldn’t stand her. Sarah comes to learn some very important life lessons from Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee and orphan. Little Bee escapes the horrors of Nigeria and a detention center and finds her way to the middle of an idyllic white setting, where Cleave puts her on a mission to absolve guilt and change lives.

    Cleave tells the story in the voices of Little Bee and Sarah, in alternating chapters. For the first few of Little Bee’s chapters I enjoyed his writing and found his characterization strong. I never liked Sarah’s chapters; I never believed in her as a person. She was a woman full of stereotype written by a man who perhaps should have written from a man’s perspective. Women writing as men, men writing as women . . . it rarely works out very well. But Little Bee’s character is much more gender neutral, and I think that’s why it works better for Cleave. When Little Bee would talk of finding a way to kill herself in any situation, in case the men came, I believed it. When Little Bee talked of telling the story to the girls back at home, I imagined how hard it really would be to relate the events to someone in that distant land.

    Overall, I found the book contrived and patronizing. As someone said in another review: "Little Bee's story is brutal and important, and yet it is filled with eye-rolling cutesiness and an unnecessary amount of predictable padding. Too sweet for this reader." I'd have to agree. Rumor has it the book's being made into a movie, which isn't surprising.

    All that said, I know I will still recommend it to a number of my customers, because I know they will love it. And I guess that's the art of the handsell . . . recommending what fits a customer, not what you wish would fit him/her.

  5. says:

    “A scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, ‘I survived’”

    I have a problem with the compulsive acquisition of e-books and it is a bit out of control. I currently own 215 un-read books on my Kindle and I plan to do something about it. For now, I chose 10 of the earliest bought books and give them 20%. If I like them fine, if not I will not read further. No 2nd chances or let’s try a few more pages. Little Bee is the first book I chose and I am so happy I finally got to it after more than 4 years. LE: I also have around 100 un-read real books so do not think I have that problem solved.

    I loved the experience of reading this novel although it was not always an easy feat, despite the ardent need to turn just one more page. It reads as a thriller in a way, that is one of the reasons the blurb tells the reader not to give away too much of the plot. And I won’t.

    The novel is written from the point of view of two characters, a young Nigerien girl just released from a refugee detention center and an English woman, married and mother of a young boy Charlie. Their accidental encounter on a beach in Nigeria sets in motion tragic events. The clever use of gaps in narratives made me turn the page to find out more and the interest was also kept alive by the alternation between the two voices, very different from one another perfectly complimentary.

    I read some critical reviews about the narrative voice of the young girl, Little Bee. They say that nobody talks like that and I agree. However, not many people talk like in most books, especially literary fiction. Let’s take another example, the much praised Ducks, Newburyport. The books consist of the interior monologue of a housewife in Ohio. I can bet on anything that there isn’t one person in the world that thinks like that. I was listening to Marlon James’ podcasts and at one point he says that Trashy Novels are the only books where dialogues actually are written as the people talk and I tend to agree with him.

    Some quotes:

    “Death, of course, is a refuge. It’s where you go when a new name, or a mask and cape, can no longer hide you from yourself. It’s where you run to when none of the principalities of your conscience will grant you asylum.”
    “Horror in your country is something you take a dose of to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it.”

  6. says:

    I generally pass on books written by a man in the voice of a woman. And a white man writing in a black woman's voice? No, thanks. But this book gives nothing away up front, and I was hooked before I could worry much about the writer's intentions.

    The chapters alternate between Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee, and Sarah, an English suburban mom. They are drawn together under extraordinary circumstances, and I found myself regularly surprised by the turn of events. I didn't know how things were going to end until I was at the last page.

    It'll be a movie---no doubt about that. It played like a movie in my head. I loved it, though.

  7. says:

    I had hoped this would be a really incredible gut-wrencher, heartbreaker of a book, but I feel like it didn't really live up to the potential it had. Like it was a little scattered and unfocused, so instead of showing us exactly what we should see, we are instead shown the things that lie around the thing that we should see, and we have to put the picture of the thing together on our own.

    If this book had just been about the relationship of two women who share a horrible event in their history, then this could have been a great book for me. But the 'issues' that were folded into this story left me feeling a little unsatisfied. One needs to be ballsy when dealing with these kinds of issues, if one is going to include them in their book. One needs to be willing to make it REAL, to make the reader ache for the characters that go through the things you show them. I've read a lot of gut-wrenching books. I was hoping that this would be one that would make me sit up and take notice... but it didn't.

    I didn't really feel like I could identify with any of the characters. Little Bee was a bit of an anomaly, being where she's been and where she is now. I found it hard to really understand her, even though it's apparent that she's meant to bridge the gap between her world and ours and allow us to empathize for those enduring such cruelty. But I didn't GET her, even though I mostly liked her and had my fingers crossed that she'd be OK. Sarah wasn't much better for me, either. I could understand her better, but I didn't like her. I thought that she was incredibly selfish and uncaring in her "Suburban Early-30s Professional" life. The way she derailed Little Bee's story with her own petty concerns and tedious details (those about her career and Lawrence) annoyed me. I understand the point to the story, I do, I just didn't care because I didn't much like her. She did grow up and mature over the course of the book, but the damage was done.

    All of this is not to say that this book isn't good. It is, but it's JUST good. It works out that way sometimes. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book - the writing is gorgeous, and there are so many lines that are quotable gems strewn throughout... but great novels are more than just pretty words. I had hoped to really experience this one, to be thrown into the lives of these women and see something amazing through their eyes. I didn't get that, but for the potential and the beautiful writing, this gets a two. If it had been gutsy, and been focused, it could have easily been a five star book. Too bad.

  8. says:

    i can't say anything about the plot of this book because the dust jacket pleads with me not to and i am nothing if not obedient. (but you can read plot points in all the other reviews by rebels) i will say i loved it enough to order in and set aside his earlier book, which had never called out to me before. and this is my favorite cover ... ever.

    come to my blog!

  9. says:

    Have you ever met someone you idolized? (An artist or singer, maybe. Someone super talented or brilliant or famous.) But then when you met them in person you found out they were lame? What a rip-off!

    That’s sort of how I feel about this book.

    It's the story of two women and how their lives converge. Little Bee is a 16-year-old Nigerian refugee who has seen her entire village and family brutally murdered. Sarah is a 30-something suburbanite juggling career and family. The two women met once on a beach in Africa and something happened which changed both their lives, linking them forever. The story starts 2 years after the incident and is told from each woman's perspective, semi-alternately. In the beginning it’s mostly Little Bee. I was completely taken in. Her spirit is beautiful, stunning, overwhelming, almost too bright and painful to look at. Her story is told in richly detailed moments that take pages to get through. I got completely caught up in the world she’d created. I was there. I could see what she saw. And then, bit by bit, this gorgeous, lazy prose is interrupted by Sarah’s story. She’s confused. She’s apathetic. She makes idiotic decisions. She’s having the most lack-luster, extramarital affair ever. She kills the story incrementally. Her story is also told in detailed moments but I couldn’t wait for it to stop. There are glimpses of Little Bee in this middle section but it’s as if Sarah’s story has stripped her of all sparkle. Ugh!!

    And then, miraculously, Little Bee is returned to us at the end of the book! She is delivered with her beauty unscathed and her voice is lovely as ever. By the time I was finished I had almost forgotten how Sarah ruined everything.

  10. says:

    This book WILL:

    1)Make you laugh hysterically.
    2)Disturb you mightily.
    3)Make you think A LOT.
    4)Make you examine your conscience,(provided you actually have one to examine). Especially with regard to immigration issues and the tendency of wealthier nations to throw money at every problem in the hopes of making it go away.

    This book MAY:

    1)Horrify you.
    2)Make you angry.
    3)Shock you.
    4)Make you cry.

    The basic story involves the relationship that develops between Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee girl, and Sarah, a thoroughly modern British woman. The chapters alternate between the two womens stories. This (male) author writes quite convincingly from female perspectives. Searchingly sensitive but not overwrought.

    This is one of those books where it will be impossible to predict who will like it and who won't. There are some serious current issues addressed, both worldwide and unique to the United Kingdom. It's a VERY fast read, so give it a go. Whatever your opinion about it, you won't forget it!

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