Saturday, June 16, 2007

Sweetness in the Belly - Camilla Gibb

The Basics: Sweetness in the Belly, Camilla Gibb, 2005, 415 pages, paperback, shortlisted for the Giller, winner of Ontario's Prix Trillim Book Award.

How I found it: Random browsing at Chapters.

What's it about?: The life story of Lilly, a white woman who grew up as a Muslim in Morocco and Ethiopia. The story is told in bits and pieces, jumping from her present as an immigrant to the U.K., back to her early days in Harar.

Did I like it?: I loved this book. Lilly is such a strong character, even when she feels she is weak. Her story was very compelling and unlike any I had read before. Camilla Gibb actually did at Ph.D. in social anthropology at Oxford with field work in Ethiopia, so her book is meticulous well-research and to me seems exceptionally authentic. Gibb writes very well and explains the cultural aspects of the book very well without detracting from the narrative. The love stories were also especially poignant.

Will you like it?: This is a great book as it is well written, has a great strong female protagonist and a great plot. There is nothing to dislike about this book. As with many that I read, it is more of a woman's book, but it is far from chick-lit. A good choice for book clubs.

But don't take my word for it: The usual stuff and reader reviews from, a review from, one from, another from The Guardian, and a collection of reviews from Camilla Gibbs' website.

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