Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Little Bee

Little Bee: A Novel; by Chris Cleave

So after hearing all the rave reviews about Little Bee I finally picked myself up a copy.  The publisher says on the back not to give away too much (the magic is in how the story unfolds) so all I’ll tell you is that it’s about a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan who seeks asylum in England.  A lot of the book is the narrator of the story – Little Bee – talking about how she sees British (“civilised”) life in contrast to her own life growing up in a small town in Nigeria.  There is a lot of depth to this book, and it deals effectively with the brutality of Little Bee’s world as well as various problems facing asylum-seekers in general.  Chris Cleave writes beautifully, and Little Bee is always to-the-point.  Her story is told simply and honestly.

For all the merits of Little Bee, I was saddened when, after reading it, I felt a little bit disappointed.  There’s a lot of hype surrounding the novel and I tend to find that when that happens the novel very rarely lives up to the expectations.  However, this is not a book to pass up!  Just be mindful that even though it’s quick and funny and witty, this is a novel with sharp edges with a definite political message.  Not for the vivacious romantic. 

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