Monday, April 26, 2010

Little Bee

Little Bee by Chris Cleave came out in 2008 and I have heard different people talk about it, but no one ever seemed real crazy about the book.  I finally picked it up, and I have to agree with popular opinion (among my friends).  I think.

There are definitely parts of the story that are very thought-provoking and I have a feeling that Little Bee may stay with me for quite awhile.

Little Bee is from Nigeria and the story starts with Little Bee's voice talking from a detention center in England.  She has been there for the past two years.  The story begins with:

"Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl.  Everyone would be pleased to see me coming." 

And that's pretty much how the story goes.  It is the story of Little Bee, who met (although I use the word 'met' reluctantly given the circumstances) Sarah and Andrew, a couple from England on vacation, on a beach in Africa a couple of years earlier.  Two years later, after Little Bee leaves the detention center, she goes to find Sarah and Andrew.  The book is both the story of initially meeting them and of the present after she leaves the detention center.

The book is narrated by both Little Bee and Sarah in alternating chapters.  Sarah and Andrew have a four year old son, who is having a Batman phase.  Little Bee connects with him in  a special way, that I thought really added to the story.

I don't want to tell more about the story in case you, the reader, decide to read the book.  It is a story of hope, but also has some pretty horrifying events.  I think that it is a good story of resilience and, ultimately, hope despite everything.