Between the Lines discussion

Archive > March 2010 - Little Bee by Chris Cleave

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message 1: by Beth (new)

Beth Knight (zazaknittycat) You may begin discussing Little Bee. Please remember to mark all potential spoilers.

message 2: by Wendy T (last edited Mar 12, 2010 04:56AM) (new)

Wendy T I actually listened to the audio book of Little Bee. It as an amazing book to listen too. I loved this book.

message 3: by Elena (new)

Elena I started the book last night. I was hooked right away. It is eerie the feeling I had reading the first chapter. I felt the voice of the narrator talking right at me.

message 4: by Elena (new)

Elena Well, I finished the book and it was a disappointment after such an excellent start.

I lost interest after Lawrence showed up at Sarah's house after the funeral to spend the "weekend". I lost respect for the characters.

I also found some of the comebacks Little Bee has for Lawrence out of character. I just had the feeling sometimes that it was not the same girl talking.

The son's character didn't get to me, for some reason I had no sympathy for him. How do others feel?

message 5: by KrisT (new)

KrisT I loved this book. I gave it 4.5 stars only because I felt there could have been a bit more to finish it up but I really liked this story. I liked that the author took a real issue and made it into something that made me interested even though I didn't think I was. Each chapter when I figured out who was doing the telling, I was suddenly in that moment in that story and I could not put it down till the end of the chapter. Each telling was like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together when you had no idea of what the picture was going to be when you were done..until you were done.
Maybe that is all a bit over-dramatizing this story but in many ways that is the emotional rollercoaster I was going though while reading this.

message 6: by KrisT (new)


I agree I did not care for Lawrence and his selfishness. To think he could come over for a weekend after the funeral was absurd. To be jealous of Little Bee and thinking she was going to take a way from his time with Sarah and his own wife was ridiculous.
I think Little Bee's reaction to Lawrence was out of character for her at times which i think just showed the dual personalities LB had to learn to cope. She talked freely of this when she was in detention. Something like you had to look good or talk good. She chose. When she talks to each person she is manipulating her person to fit in. I think that is why she got to Lawrence and it is why she broke through to Charlie(batman) and really she touched Andrew the way she did too.

Elena, by the son's character do you mean Charlie the Batman? At 4 years old it is hard to place what he is going to be but he still is going to grow up without a father and that did touch me. It made him vulnerable and I did like his philosophy of goodies and baddies! ;)

message 7: by Elena (new)

Elena Yes, I mean Charlie (for me he was The Batman all the time.) The situation is supposed to be touching but I didn't feel it. I agree the goodies and baddies philosophy was a good thing about him :)

message 8: by Nita (new)

Nita (nitacheetah) For me, this book represented the reality of situations that we (non-war torn country citizens) can not even truly comprehend. The opportunity to "do the right thing" and make the effort to save another life, and the costs that come with that decision. Although I found the book deep and philosophically moving, overall, it was just ok for me.


I felt the ending to be abrupt and I question whether or not Little Bee's reaction to Lawrence represented a growth or feeling of worth on her part. She was suddenly not so consumed with how she "would" kill herself, but seemed willing to fight for her life/right to be.

Also, I think Charlie/Batman represents the simplistic situation of "is it good(right) or is it bad(wrong)?" That we as adults start to shade over and fing that grey inbetween.

message 9: by KrisT (new)

KrisT Exactly the philosophy I was talking about Nita. I think it was the simple vs the complex. Then you have Little Bee who is very young herself forced to make adult crazy out of control decisions. She is trying to make decisions about life or death and Andrew and Sarah are making decisions on whether they should stick their necks out or not. Not quite the same thing since they are adults. Lawrence was in the middle or the fulcrum for both Little Bee and Sarah.

message 10: by JESSICA (last edited Apr 01, 2010 10:32AM) (new)

JESSICA (iamasuburbanmom) | 52 comments I'm a little surprised by the reviews. Most people seemed sort of disappointed by this book. I really loved it.
I thought the writing was strong and Cleave used the irony and humor very well to move forward a very dark and difficult story. I particularly liked the way Cleave has Little Bee explaining her situation in England to the "girls at home". Those excerpts are funny, smart and very insightful into a world we take for granted.

********* SPOILERS**************

I liked that there were actually no goodies or baddies at all in the story. I particularly liked Sarah's selfishness in the wake of her husbands funeral. It was unlovely and depressing to see her choose her own comfort over her son and his well being, but it was human and I saw it as plausible. For Sarah, she and Andrew's relationship died that day on the beach.

I also liked that Cleave "besmirched" Little Bee, who seems like a fiction icon of innocence and loss in the face of forces far more powerful than she can understand. But her choices when she first encounters Andrew in Kingston upon Thames takes her out of the category of the banal victim.

The only character I wasn't into was Charlie. I have a four year old and I felt like Charlie was mostly a means to an end rather than a little boy. His whole purpose was to be the innocent impetus that puts Little Bee into jeopardy, first her arrest in England and at the story's climax.

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