Anna's Reviews > Little Bee

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
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's review
Mar 13, 2012

"If your face is swollen from the severe beatings of life, smile and pretend to be a fat man."
- Nigerian Proverb

A wise but sad saying.
When I first saw Little Bee, I had no idea what it was about. I was at the library and asked my sister to choose me a random book from the shelf because I couldn't seem to do it myself. No matter what she picked, I said I would read it. Too bad for me, she chose Finnegan's Wake as a joke. I didn't count that. Her next choice was Little Bee.
At first I was iffy, because generally I like to read humorous or mischievous books. I didn't know what it would be like dealing with a real life issue book.
Many of the things in this book were horrific. After a couple chapters in there had already been two suicides and two deaths, and that's only about half of the scary stuff. As scary and sad as most of the events were, I didn't cry as much as I expected, and I tend to feel emotional while reading books. I don't know what it was, and although it made me think deeply about human potential for good or bad, it didn't quite reach me.
Let's talk about the characters. The author would switch every chapter between the perspective of his two main characters, Sarah and Little Bee. I really enjoyed Little Bee's personality and how she talked and observed. I also liked to read from Sarah's view. Charlie, Sarah's son, I thought was a funny kid. I felt like he was the relief character. The main characters were dealing with theirs problems and others, and there was a tension between Little Bee and Lawrence, and even Lawrence and Sarah. Lawrence I felt was kind of a loser, but he says it so many times himself during the book that it must be true. He did have a good side to him, about caring for Sarah, but then again, even that was a little off because he was married to another woman.
Although this wasn't a book that pulled me all the way in, I felt like I got the jist of the message. The way the author writes is poetic, and also extremely quotable. There were some things that he wrote that I thought were so beautiful that I wanted to write them down. I think the the author did a decent job writing in a woman's voice as well, even though he is male.
You are probably still wondering why I put the Nigerian proverb at the beginning, and I am also surprised you have read this far. That proverb is what the author chose to end the book with. It demonstrates very well what goes on in the story and how the story ends. Both woman have gone through many hardships and trials, and through it all they are trying to make a difference and help others that were in one of their situations. Though all that has happened to them, they still buck up and try to be brave. A lot of their strength comes from one another, and they build off from each other.
This is a book that I would recommend people read, but you can get by without it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and the first chapter totally took me in and made me want to continue reading. In a way it has changed my view on certain topics. I might just add, it was a New York Times Bestseller. And fine, I'll admit it, I did sort of cry during a few parts. I also believe that is about an important subject impacting our world today.

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