Book Reviews: Little Bee & Bossypants

I’ve been reading voraciously lately and had to comment on these two books in case some of you are looking for a good tome to take you away for a bit.

I am sure most of you have heard of or already read Chris Cleave’s Little Bee, but just in case some of you have not I wanted to suggest you do so.  Once I ignored the brutally haughty blurb on the back,  within the first few pages I was totally enchanted by this book- not only the tale but the writing itself.  The fact that Cleave writes from the female perspective with the magnificence he does without possessing a pair of ovaries blows my mind.  There were several times in this book I put it down and thought to myself “this guy GETS it!”.  A simple sentence or a pairing of words that just translates an emotion perfectly…I was stunned.  But this is not a novel for only women, this is a novel for any human being.

It’s message about life’s messy and painful duplicities- of love and hate, life and death, honor and deceit, sacrifice and selfishness transcend gender, age and race.  The story is an important one that will tug at your heart and make you re-consider our own life and the things you deem depressing or too much to bear.  Or perhaps it will leave you sobbing in bed alone or by a pool in Florida at 6 a.m. like it did to myself and my mother. Many Twitter followers and readers mentioned to me that the liked the book until the end.   But neat and today endings are not typically what life is about.  Sad stories have their place and sad events can make for the most beautiful and poignant of lessons.  I leave you with my favorite quote from the book regarding just that:

“In a few breaths time, I will speak some sad words to you.  But you must hear them the same way we have agreed to see scars now. Sad words are just another beauty.  A sad story means the storyteller is alive.  The next thing you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile.”

After I had wiped away the tears and snot I decided I was in the mood for something a bit lighter. Enter Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I was super glad I owned a Tempurpedic mattress while reading this since my husband falls asleep early and quickly and as I tried to stifle my laughter I was doing the heaving “quiet laugh” that would have jostled him away every few paragraphs. Tina’s Liz Lemon is one of my favorite TV characters EVER with lines that I find myself repeating to my own delight over and over like “but I already have a drink, do you think he’ll buy me mozzarella sticks?”.  But her life’s story is even FUNNIER, with witty one liners, hysterical pictures and beneath all the chuckles an inspiring story of a woman determined to rule the world but simultaneously freaks out about being a mom and is scared of what her babysitter thinks of her. I really hope someday she and I can be besties.


26 comments

  1. Both look like great reads. I love the description of you silently laughing and trying not to jostle the bed. Too funny! Thanks for the recommendations – I’ll add them to my list!

  2. I loved Bossypants – it’s so fun to read a book that makes you laugh out loud. The chapter about her father Don was hysterical.

  3. I saw your tweet about Little Bee recently and when I saw it at my local library, couldn’t resist. I’m like 5 pages in, but based on this review, I can’t wait to see what story it tells. Thanks!

  4. Picking these two up immediately…every book you’ve recommended so far I love. Just in time for a new one, since I am bookless at the moment. Thanks!

  5. Okay, you sold me on both. I’ve heard so much about Little Bee I’ve been wanting to get that one and the way described trying not to wake your husband from laughing -I need that kind of funny book! Thanks

  6. Little Bee was great! If you want another teary story read Sarah’s Key (if you haven’t already). It was so good I read it in 48 hours. Now I’m onto The Help. xo happy reading!

  7. Well, I loved Little Bee but your review of Bossypants is hilariously close to mine! It got banned from my bedroom! I couldn’t manage the quiet laugh. My husband would wake up, glare at me a little, and I would gasp out, “Don Fey… I can’t… too funny”. I also told a friend that one day I hope that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would drop by for a drink and chat. I bet they would eat the heck out of a cheese plate.

  8. They sound great and perfect gifts for Mother’s Day to my sister who is my daughters Godmother. Thanks so much and I wanted to share how much I look forward to your blog. Thanks for sharing your “finds”, thoughts and inspiration. Have a great week!
    Maureen

  9. thanks for the two book reviews..now I want to go buy those books and read them..
    I think I would really like Tina Feys book as I could use a good laugh.. :)
    maureen

  10. I was expecting a few funny one-liners excerpted from the book, but I wish you didn’t give away that the end was sad! That robbed me of the experience of being unexpectedly moved.

  11. I really loved Little Bee…especially as someone who had witnessed and worked on Asylum cases in my internship. I understand that not every book needs a happy ending, but I just wished for some semblance of hope at the ending of this book, and it just wasn’t there. I guess life’s not always like that, so there was supposed to be a sort of realism there, but I was just thoroughly depressed and frustrated at the ending…

  12. Voluntary book reviews–your English teachers of long ago and far away would be so impressed! Looking forward to Boosypants, and I suggested to my book group.

  13. There is a line in Little Bee about the beauty of the scars we endure in our lives that stayed on my mind long after I read the last page. A tragic, but beautifully written story.

  14. I’d just ordered both these books when I found your reviews. Thanks so much for the great descriptions without giving too much away. Now I’m even more excited to read both books. Love your blog by the way!

  15. i heart tina fey! last week i was so elated to get tickets to see tina be interviewed by steve martin at the nokia theatre in LA before her book signing! so funny, so smart and she really does seem to have somehow remained ‘normal’. i will fight you for her as besties, erin! btw, i asked tina if they were supplying her with mozzarella sticks at the book signing (based on the line you mentioned from “30 rock” – one of my many favorites) and she laughed (genuinely, not typical soul-less hollywood laughter) & then said that she liked my necklace…and then i blacked out.

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