Thursday, February 10, 2011

Little Bee

Author: Chris Cleave
Published by Simon & Schuster 2008
Review written by Nellie

Little Bee has two voices, that of a Nigerian refugee, a young woman who calls her self, Little Bee and Sarah, a writer from London.
     The lives of these two women collide in a moment of terror on a Nigerian beach. It is a moment that ties their stories together for life.
     The tale is a work of fiction that speaks the truth as it pulls us into the lives of these two women who must each learn her own identity in a world that seeks to define them.
     Little Bee has seen things and experienced events that were supposed to leave no witnesses. It is this experience that causes her to flee from her small world next to the African jungle.  She flees with her older sister just as this world, the world of their childhood, ceases to exist. Her co-conspiritor in the tale is Sarah, a solidly middle class woman making a good living as a trendy magazine editor who sees herself as not quite a wife, not quite a writer not quite a mother.    Their story unfolds as each woman is buffeted about by circumstances that urge her to claim an identity of her own, apart from the men who come after them.
     Little Bee flows easily from page one to the end of the book which is not the end of the story. It is a tale of horror about redemption and the strength of human character which may cause its readers to re-examine their own lives as each of us continues to fine-tune our own identity and how we fit into our world.
   I recommend Little Bee to readers of all ages.  It is would be a good read for a high school woman, though the scenes of horror and short sexual descriptions call for maturity and discretion. With its accompanying study guide it is a good choice for book clubs and discussion groups.