First thing first: The Other Hand is published as Little Bee in the US. I hate when publishers do that, publishing books with different titles. Pfft. So Annoying. Nevertheless, the US cover is so pretty, and I love that it matches the other book by Chris Cleave, Incendiary. So pretty! And that’s annoying as well because the copy I own is actually the UK one! ARGH! I got this copy for a fraction of the original price because the cover is a bit teared though, so yeah, worth it… I do think that “The Other Hand” is a more fitting title than Little Bee because really it’s not just about Little Bee (who is one of the two women in the book).
So yes, this is a book about two women, told in alternating point of view between them. One woman is a successful magazine editor in the UK, the other is a 16-year-old girl from Nigeria. And it’s written by a man. Who did a brilliant job. Like seriously, well done, Chris! It’s one thing to be able to capture the voice of a British woman, but a Nigerian girl as well? Gosh. And before you ask how I know that he’s captured her voice perfectly, it’s because I have friends from Nigeria. They’re not 16-year-old girls but still, I think Little Bee’s voice was very convincing.
This book is a book with a purpose, it tells the story of the refugees that come to the UK. And yet, it does not in any way feel stuffy or like it’s trying to hard to teach the reader something, like some books do. Instead, it is touching and sweet and terrifying and hopeful all at the same time. Gosh, I love it when books give me ALL the feels. It did however felt dragging at first. I also didn’t like Sarah’s point of view all that much, hence only three stars.
A little bit of a warning though, the book contains some pretty intense description of horrible events so if you can’t take that sort of thing maybe it’s best to not read the book. The events described are actually important part of the story so skipping past them would not be a good idea.
Oh, also, the back cover of my edition has a very cryptic message. Which is kinda cool but I’m not sure if the book needs it. I wonder if giving an actual synopsis might be a better idea, which the other editions seem to have done. I did pick up the book because I was intrigued by the back cover though, something I wouldn’t have done with the description on the US edition, so I suppose to each her/his own.