Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Book Review.... Little Bee by Chris Cleave

I just finished reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave and feel a small loss for words about what to write. The publishers took a big risk with the promos for this book, they didn't really tell the reader what it was all about - "We don't want to tell you what happens in this book...nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it" and so they give you a little tidbit about it being "the story of two women whose lives collide one fateful day", but it is so much more than that. First we meet Little Bee and simply fall in love. She is so innocent, but quite insightful. " I wish I was a British pound coin instead of a African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming." Little Bee is a 16 year old Nigerian refugee surviving in a UK immigration detention center. How she came to be in the immigration center is part of the story, as well as how she meets Sarah & Andrew O'Rourke, a young affluent couple from England who were "on Holiday" in Nigeria, very naive to the violence that was raging in the area. Leading up to the tale of violence that links Sarah and Little Bee on that Nigerian beach, we meet a cast of characters from the detention center that will make you laugh and cry at the same time. And it opens your eyes just a bit because you begin to realize that even though this is a fictional book, these detention centers really exist and so do some of the horrors you are reading about. The writing is captivating - and we are drawn into Little Bee's world. We realize how Little Bee is not so different from Sarah. The book is written through both Little Bee and Sarah's voice and towards the end I began forgetting who's voice was speaking to me. The story does not stop at the detention center, and as if their lives were bound by something untouchable on that fateful day, Sarah and Little Bee meet again... I really enjoyed this book! The writing and characters will touch your heart! Make this one of your next reads!

7 comments:

Helen said...

I know I am just commenting on this...but I absolutely loved this book. It was beautifully written. I love Little Bee (the character) and I think there should be more people like Sarah.

Suzanne said...

Hi Helen!
You know I can't say enough about this book! I was hoping someone would comment on it- Thank you! Sarah was amazing! What did you think of her husband?

Helen said...

I didn't like her Sarah's husband too much. I thought he was a coward. I couldn't blame Little Bee for wanting to "punish" him. In some ways, Lawrence was just as selfish as Sarah's husband. I didn't like him either. I was surprised that Chris Cleave, being a guy, would portray his male characters this way. Nevertheless, it was an awesome book, and it's one of my favorites.

Suzanne said...

I though Sarah's husband was a coward too! Lawrence was a disappointment too! funny that you mention Chris Cleave writing his male characters this way- it surprised me too. Made me think of another book that a guy wrote that I couldn't believe- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. That book had such insight from a woman's perspective that you just can't believe a man was the author. That was another fantastic read!

Helen said...

Ooh!I loved Memoirs of a Geisha. By the way, I sent you an email asking about another book.

Suzanne said...

Hi Helen!
If you loved Memoirs of a Geisha you will love Snowflower and the Secret Fan! And I did ramble on a bit about it in the email! ;-)

Cheryl said...

I have never heard or read this book, but I will definitely check it out from the library, if possible. Thanks for such a great review!

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