Kenechi Udogu's Reviews > The Other Hand

The Other Hand by Chris Cleave
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Sep 10, 12

bookshelves: male-author
Read from August 23 to September 10, 2012

Despite the fact that I really didn't like a lot of things about this book, I'm giving it 3 stars because I thought that the general idea of it and most of the writing was good/interesting (it could easily be a 2 or a 2.5 star rating but I'm trying to be fair). At least I read it all the way through without wanting to toss it aside. Now, the bad (oh, the very bad) part of the book was Little Bee and the depiction of Nigeria. I was born and bred in Nigeria. To be more specific, I was born and bred in the South-East of Nigeria where Little Bee is supposed to be from. Cleave's depiction of my tribe, supposedly in the 21st century, would be almost hilarious to read if it wasn't so horribly misguided! I would love to find out if he has actually ever visited the region or spoken to the people that live there because the language and mannerisms he depicted is a joke even for a girl who is supposed to live in a village. Don't get me started on the rest of her village. The ignorance and naivety he tries to weave into the story is pretty infuriating to anyone who knows better. My sister read this book and warned me of this and I thought she was overreacting but I should have listened to her. There is even a part in the book with a common prayer in my language which I had to read back a few times but still couldn't understand (and I speak my language quite fluently and was taught that prayer as a child). I understand that Cleave was trying to get a point across but I was too distracted by all the awfully wrong things he wrote to truly enjoy it. A huge shame as I really enjoyed his style of writing. The end left me thinking "what is the point?", but I can almost understand why the writer left it that way. Even though I've given it 3 stars, I'm not sure I'll be recommending this book to my friends because I suspect they won't forgive me.
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08/27/2012 page 47
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