Book Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

I bought this book.
Book Review Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Little Bee” is the fictional story of a Nigerian teenager named aptly named Little Bee whose family had the misfortune of living in a small village on a valuable Nigerian oil deposits. Little Bee meets British magazine editor Sarah O’Rourke on a beach in Nigeria and their lives are changed and intertwined forever. What happened on that beach that fateful day is part of the mystery of the book which slowly reveals itself.

Besides the teenage refugee Sarah has to contend with other twists and turns life throws at her which includes her little son who refuses to take off his Batman costume, a lover, a job and a husband who is constantly in the background.

The book is told in two voices, one of Little Bee and the other of Sarah, we see the events from both their eyes but it’s more like a continuation. Little Bee finishes a narration and Sarah picks up from where she left off and vice versa.

I liked “Little Bee” and the ending caught me a bit by surprise and I liked the distinct voices author Chris Cleave tries to use – it made the story more interesting and gave us a bit of background about Little Bee without having to resort to flashbacks.

That being said, I felt that the story was “forced”, as if the author wrote the story backwards and then forced events / plot twists to come to that conclusion, it was as if the book was overly structured instead of just flowing.

I also didn’t find the characters very likable; the most appealing was Little Bee and I felt for Sarah who seemed to have her life coming apart at the seams slowly and then just tear from beneath her, but she seemed to be one of those women who justify every mistake or bad decision they make by either blaming someone else or “needing to take care of myself” – a bit selfish, with very little depth and, excuse me, a bit stupid or willfully blind to reality.

I still liked the book, it was an interesting topic and didn’t try to look at the immigration situation in the UK through rose colored glasses or simplify it into good and bad, but shades of gray as are most things in life are.

Is this book as important as it claims to be (right on the cover)?
That’s up to history to decide. We all know that horrible things are taking place around the world in “our name” so we can live in comfort and relative safety. Most of us are also willfully turn a blind eye or choose to believe the propaganda justifying the actions – this is nothing new.

My rating for Little Bee 4

Did you think this book is as important as it claims to be?

Zohar – Man of La Book

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