WOW!!! Little Bee: Loved it
By Chris Cleave
Little Bee, I can't divulge the story, as the publishers don't want you to divulge too much. This book is a gem. But, I will eventually tell you.....
It is the story of two women, who meet one fateful day in Nigeria on the beach. One is a white successful woman on vacation with her husband. Other young woman, is Little Bee, and her sister are escaping the militants from her village, they saw them massacred their entire village. These two women's lives collide and will never be the same. Two years later, Little Bee has journeyed from Africa and is put in a detention center, in England. She is allowed one phone call, and she knows no one except for Sarah. Two years ago, she found Sarah's husband's driver's license on the beach and kept it.
I received Little Bee, a couple of years ago. I finally had a good excuse to read the novel, our book club was discussing it for this month. I have been wanted to read this for awhile, but I could not get myself to get to it. But, finally moved up in my pile, thanks Benay so much for recommending it for our September book discussion.
Little Bee, received so many mixed reviews. I was that surprised. I absolutely was drawn to it from the first sentence. " Most Days I Wish I was a British pound instead of an African girl. That sets up the entire book. I loved Mr. Cleave's writing style. He uses alternate chapters for each main character. I like the technique of his writing. He quotes" when you meet a new person, they are a mystery until you slowly learn about them". That is a good way of describing writers, that write in this direction. You don't give everything away at once, why would you do that. Like a onion, layer by layer.
The narrative is set up with two women voices in alternate chapters. One woman is a African black young woman she doesn't have anything but the clothes on her back. she doesn't have a identity, or a place to call home any longer. The other Sarah, a white woman, well established with a successful job, a family, in a nice home in the suburbs of England. Mr. Cleave used opposites to tell his story.
The novel, is contrived but once you get past the impossibilities of a few things and just read the book for what it is meant to be. Would you sacrifice yourself for someone else even if they were a stranger? I don't know if I would? What about family? Would you, or wouldn't you? good question. These are some of the questions asked in the novel.
I loved the social issues, of the detention centers in England, and the genocide in Africa. This made me do my own research mainly about what was going on in Africa. The oil companies involvement of destroying the eco-system and the politics that I was unaware of. Also, researching about the detention centers in the United States. Which there was not much on in cyberspace.
I liked how Mr. Cleave wrote the novel from Little Bee's perspective. The story had some humor in it. Why Mr. Cleave wrote with humor, he explains is when he was interviewing detainee's the stories were horrific. But, to get beyond that most of them used humor. He did the same thing to write the book.
I loved this, Little Bee's father had a car, until it could not run no more. He left it in the center of the village. Except the boys took the tires off of the car to make a swing. Another car driver was drunk, and crashed into my father's Peugeot, which was still standing exactly how my father left it. The man, and my father got out of the car. The man apologized profusely. My father, " We should be thanking you, sir, you had really put our village on the map, this is our very first road traffic accident".
One other part, of the novel Little Bee for the first time went with Sarah, Lawrence and Charlie into London. She has never been in the city. She had always been so fearful, that she would be caught by the authorities, because she was an illegal alien. She realized, and was astounded that there were people all around with mixed colors, and she could blend in without being recognized. Like they say, in the United States, a "melting pot".
My final thoughts of Little Bee, I absolutely loved, loved it. It was a satisfying read. It is like I had a rush, and don't want to come down after I read such a great story. If you can relate what I am talking about. Thank you Mr. Cleave.