Book Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleave
March 29, 2011 27 Comments
My on-line Dutch book group, the boekgrrls, chose this book as our March read. As it was on my wish list anyway, I was eager to read it.
Little Bee: What it is about
The book is told from the perspective of Little Bee, a 16-year old Nigerian girl in a detention center for illegal immigrants in the UK, alternated with the story told by Sarah, who is married to Andrew and has a small son, Charlie.
Through an administrative error, Little Bee is let out of the detention center, but without any valid documents, and she decides to go and find Andrew and Sarah, who she met two years earlier in Nigeria, on the beach.
The reader is fed information little by little about what happened on the beach and what happened since. I was in for some surprises!
Little Bee: What I thought
This was a good, but not a brilliant story. There was a lot of hype about this book, especially because there was no description on the back of the English copies, just a text saying “We don’t want to give anything away. But the story is fantastic, so buy the book.”
Well, the Dutch translation does have a description on the back cover (we wouldn’t spend our money, otherwise!) so I didn’t think it was bad of me to tell you a bit about it (above).
I enjoyed reading the book. It was an easy read but I learned quite a few things, especially about Nigeria, and about illegal immigrants in England.
The story was quite dramatic. It starts off with the reader blissfully unaware of the past and of the things still to come. I liked the way we were told bits of the story. It didn’t feel artificial, as a reader, I didn’t feel manipulated. Everything followed quite logically from one situation to the next.
I didn’t particularly like Little Bee or the other characters. But somehow that didn’t matter, because the story was strong enough to keep my interest.
I got this book: from the library, because it was the book of the month of March with the boekgrrls online book group
I read this in: Dutch, the original language is English
Number of pages: 240
First published: 2008
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Extras: Here’s a negative review of the book: http://athyrium.blogspot.com/2011/03/little-bee-or-other-hand.html