Monday, January 31, 2011

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

From the back cover: We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this: This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again...the story starts there.
Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.

First line: Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl.

My thoughts: First off, that blurb interested me in the book but it, the story, was not magical. It was sad and tragic. Little Bee is the story of a 16 year old Nigerian girl who escapes from her home land after her family was killed and her village was destroyed for the convince of oil companies. I loved the voice of Little Bee and loved following her thought process in her chapters. I grew to truly care about her and her circumstances. Little Bee's chapters alternated with the other main character's chapters as the story of their relationship is related. The other is Sarah, an English journalist and suburban mom. They meet on a beach in Nigeria under horrific circumstances and then two years later they meet again in England. The only light moments were provided by 4 year old Charlie and his insistance that he is Batman fighting baddies. Cute.
I did not like the ending, at all. I think it was meant to be left open but after reading the whole thing I know what would happen next.

This story opened my eyes to tragic happenings in our world. If you are looking for a light read, this is not it. I found it an uncomfortable read (as only human rights violations can be,) with an important story to tell. I do recommend it.


Quote: "I smiled back at Charlie and I knew that the hopes of this whole human world could fit inside one soul. This is a good trick. This is called, globalisation."

“I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.”

At wikipedia
NY Times Review
(scroll down)
First Chapter
The issues
Chris Cleave


Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

It does seem like a heavy read. I've seen this title as well in the PoC reading challenge so I have chanced upon quite a number of reviews about this book. I recall the first time I read Toni Morrison's Beloved, I was not able to sleep at all! I'm sure if I could manage that, Little Bee's voice would not prove to be too much. =)

samantha.1020 said...

I'm going to admit that I read that summary and then couldn't bring myself to read your review other than that the grade that you gave it. LOL! Now I have to add this one to my TBR list and hopefully I'll pick it up from the library soon. Thanks for sharing (even if I didn't read your review) :P