Eileen Souza's Reviews > Little Bee

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
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's review
Jul 28, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: europe, africa
Read from July 28 to 31, 2010

Little Bee was a story that a friend of mine brought to my library. I had no idea what it was about - and the book cover refused to tell me anything about the book. My friend likes reading books without having any idea what they are about - I found that I need that little hook to get interested about the story. If she had told me that this was the story of a young girl from Nigeria seeking asylum in the UK I would have quickly picked it up and devoured it. However, since I had no idea what it was about, it languished on my "to read" bookshelf until I ran out of reading material.

It was a really good story - but not a truly great one. I think that was intentional, and I applaud the author for telling a story the way that it would actually happen, and not with the fairy tale ending we all wanted. I really liked the way the story was told - both from Little Bee's perspective (and how she would explain life to her friends), and from Sarah's perspective - a realistic version of our own, if we were in her position. These characters were real, and they were selfish/tragic/scared/strong in their own ways. Often times, when one was strong, the other was scared.

This was an excellent look into the lives of people seeking asylum and the lives that they are trying to leave behind. There were several statements and turns-of-phrase in the novel that I loved. A couple of examples:

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

- Horror in your country is something you take a dose of, to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it.

Though this was a dark story, it was told through the eyes of people who were currently "safe". There were uplifting aspects - especially Batman - which made the story easier to read and understand. It was an easy read, and one that I think most people would appreciate. I will definitely read it again.

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