Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Thoughts: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

The chapters alternate between Little Bee, a Nigerian refugee and Sarah, wife, mother and magazine editor. Both have met on a Nigerian beach two years ago, which changed their lives dramatically. Unfortunately I'm not able to tell you more without giving away the story. That's why I keep it short

I really loved the first pages where Little Bee shares her observation about modern societies and how strange they seem to a refugee girl. Those comments were witty and funny. Surprisingly I even liked Sarah's encounters. Chris Cleave floats effortlessly between his two telling characters. I was relieved because I read books where the author didn't handle alternating point of views very well.

But the story did not keep being light or hilarious like the back cover promises. In fact the book got heavy about topics like immigration, oil wars, friendship, personal responsibility and violence. Topics on which Chris Cleave thoroughly researched. I liked that the book had meat to it, it carries many important messages such as the horrible conditions in detention centers or that many refugees are treated like crap and not like human beings.

Give it a chance, it may surprise you! 3.5 stars.


  1. Sounds intriguing. I'm going to pick this up soon. Great review.

  2. I'm so surprised that the back cover even used the word 'hilarious' or 'light'. Did they read this book?! I found it so very depressing, so hopeless in fact. I listened to it on audio, and the narrator was obviously a young Black girl. It was like listening to Little Bee speak, and I found myself profoundly disturbed not only by her story but by that of the young married couple who found her. Every topic: marriage, youth, prejudice, hatred, was covered here, and I can only hope that the glimpse of hope we have at the end will prevail.