So far, my mission to read a book from every country in the world feels more like reading a book from every country in the Carribbean and then some other ones, too. This time, I landed in Belize, a small state in Central America that has English as its official language.
About a quarter into the book, I took a break to read up on Belize’s history and the many different ethnic groups of the region. Even with the little understanding I gathered from my two hours of reading about Belize, the book was immediately easier to understand and digest.
Beka Lamb is the coming-of-age story of Beka Lamb, a fourteen-year-old girl from Belize who is trying to break her habit of lying and is witnessing her best friend Toncie’s fall from grace after falling in love with a local boy. Beka’s story coincides with the advent of the independence movement in Belize. Beka Lamb was published in 1982, Belize became an independent country in 1981; in this sense, Beka Lamb can be seen as directly processing the political atmosphere of the years leading up to independence.
Beka Lamb excels at describing people in Belize, life in Belize, and what the country looks and feels like. The story about Beka learning to cope with growing up, her best friend’s tragedy, and the political tumults in Belize works fairly well, but did not quite capture my imagination as much as I had hoped.
Title: Beka Lamb Author: Zee Edgell First Published: 1982