- Fizzy Thoughts: Little Bee

Little Bee

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yes, I’m still working on the backlog of reviews and I’m still working on those questions people asked way back when.  Today, I’m going to cross Little Bee off the list.
little bee 
Little Bee
Chris Cleave
February 2009
271 pages

Publisher Comments:
We don't want to tell you too much about this book!

It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.

Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:


It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific.

The story starts there, but the book doesn't.

And it's what happens afterward that is most important.

Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.


This is a powerful book, but they’re right…it would be a shame to give away the story.  I would add that it is set in both London and Nigeria.  And that Little Bee is the name of the main character and narrator.  And I will give you two brief passages from the book:

“Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl.” p. 1

”In your country, if you are not scared enough already, you can go to watch a horror film…Horror in your country is something that you take a dose of to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it.” p. 45

Heather J. asked me three questions: “Did you identify with Andrew or Sarah or neither? What did you think of Little Bee's decision to "think of scars as signs of life"? Did you feel that the book was ultimately depressing or hopeful?”  And Eva asked, “Do you think I’d like Little Bee?”

I didn’t really identify with either Andrew or Sarah…I thought they were both selfish.  I didn’t care for Sarah’s actions in England, before the trip to Nigeria, and I didn’t like Andrew’s responses to the situation in Nigeria.  Sarah does has some redeeming qualities at the end, though.  However, without all of their prior decisions, there wouldn’t have been much of a book, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

I did, however, love Little Bee’s resiliency, as evidenced by her statement that scars are signs of life.  Rather than focus on the bad, she moves on.  And as for Heather’s last question, I’m not sure.  I think the actions that the characters take at the end are hopeful, and by that I mean there willingness to take a stand.

Now for Eva and her whopper of a question.  I’m always hesitant to say that people will like a book, because there are so many different factors…the story, the writing, the setting, the characters, the tone, the ending.  But yes, I do think Eva would like this one, if only because it subtly deals with some big issues, and it alternates between London and Nigeria.  Plus, it’s relatively short, so if I’m wrong, it’s not like I just recommended a 500 plus page chunkster.  Not that that would stop Eva. :-)

15 comment(s):

Vasilly said...

I've heard so many great things about Little Bee.Love your review.

bermudaonion said...

I bought this book a while ago and haven't had a chance to read it yet. Your review makes me want to get to it soon, but I'm not sure it will happen. :(

Beth F said...

Wow! I'll have to add this to my list and hope I get to it soon.

Heather J. said...

Thanks for answering my questions. The 1st and 3rd questions were ones we discussed in my book club and there were some VERY different answers to be sure! I think this book is extremely well written, and it may be in my top 10 for the year.

claire said...

I think Eva would like this, too. I was surprised by how gorgeous Chris Cleave writes.

claire said...

I think Eva would like this, too. I was surprised by how gorgeous Chris Cleave writes.

SuziQoregon said...

I loved this book! I agree that it was very powerful. I got it from the library but will probably buy a copy when it comes out in paperback. It's one of those I read fast because I was caught up in the story, but would like to re-read someday slowly to savor the prose. I loved Little Bee's observational skills.

Jo-Jo said...

Thanks for the review...this book caught my attention quite some time ago. I'm hoping I will be able to read it sometime in the future.

Julie P. said...

I want to read this book so badly! Thanks for your review.

Dar said...

I have wanted to read this one for a while since I first started seeing reviews. Seems it's always that way with the ones I'd really like to read, they seem never to end up in my mailbox. lol.

Melody said...

Intriguing! Now I've to add this onto my wishlist!

booklineandsinker said...

this book is on my summer reading challenge list...and i swear i'm getting to it...by labor day 2010! i have too much to read!!!

Veens said...

I want want want this book :) :)

Literary Feline said...

I love how you're answering others questions as a way to review these books.

This is one I have on my TBR shelf to read. I can't wait to get to it.

LisaMM said...

'Plus it's short so it's not like I'm recommending a chunkster' LOL I guess she can't hold it against you TOO much if she hates it!!

I am SO curious about this book!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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