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Book Review : About Freedom and Choices

Title : The Other Hand
Author :Chris Cleave
Pages : 378
First Publish : 2008
Price : Rp 98.000
Where to get : Periplus

The back cover of the novel doesn't tell you the summary of what happened in the story. Instead, it recommends the readers not to tell the others who haven't read the novel about what happened either. It only says that a couple of years ago, two women met and their lives collided by the fate. One of them had to made a terrible choice. Two years later they met again, and the story started there.

But I have to tell you this. Chris Cleave delivers his story in the most simple, but beautiful words. Even if you not cannot understand English fluently, you won't find difficulty to understad word by word Chris crafted in his second novel.

The narrative surrounded the lives of Sara Summers-O'Rourke, who just lost her husband, Andrew and Little Bee. An African girl who came to Britain, to escape from death. Andrew suffered a long depression since their holiday in Nigeria, where he and Sara met Little Bee for the firts time. Their marriage had been hanging on a thread way before life brought them to that Nigerian Beach. But they came back home, left Little Bee and her elder sister dragged by armed men.

Two years after that, on one usual morning, Andrew got unusual call. Little Bee called him and said she would come to him and Sara, as she did not know anyone else in Britain. 5 days after the call Andrew committed suicide, while 10 days after the call, Little Bee came and knocked on Sara's door. Too late to found Andrew alive, but just in time for his funeral.

Now, Sara faced to face Little Bee in her house. There she started to reveal. Why Little Bee was still alive and her sister did not. Or the affair Sara had that broke Andrew's heart, and why she didn't feel her life was fulfiled. As she told Little Bee about her life, she was surprised how well a young 16 years old-African girl, illegal refugee with no family left and had so much pain in her life could take understanding to all of this, and made her feel lighter about the burden she felt. As for Little Bee, it wasn't hard to understand because indeed, everyone is searching for freedom. She knew that freedom for Sara was the day she could live her life in the way that she wanted. And as for Little Bee, freedom is the day when she feared no more the men would come and kill her.

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