Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Little Bee - Chris Cleave

Summary: We don't want to tell you WHAT HAPPENS in this book.

It is a truly SPECIAL STORY and we don't want to spoil it.

NEVERTHELESS, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this:
This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again - the story starts there...

Once you read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.
Summary from book jacket, cover photo from

My Review: I will be very brief and vague so as to not spoil the story for any of you but I do feel that as a reader you should know a little more than the above summary gives you about the book before you sit down to read it.

Little Bee is a Nigerian refugee when Sarah, a white woman from England, saves her life. The two women have never met yet Sarah makes an incredibly hard choice for the other woman. As quickly as the women were drawn together they are pulled apart. Only two years later does Little Bee get the opportunity to thank and repay Sarah, with difficult choices of her own, for what she did on the fateful day the two met. It's a haunting, brutal story that will stay with you, yet one that is (almost) balanced by the goodness within select individuals.

This is the story of how decisions shape one's own life, as well as surrounding lives. It explores both the big decisions and the small ones. It's about how petty we can be when our focus is on beauty, materialism and sex, yet we are able to cast off the real life-altering issues because they are ugly, difficult and make us hurt. All the while we are gently reminded of how much value is place on money, how powerful we find these coins, yet in the end money can not buy true freedom.

Be warned, this is not your typical light summer read. It's actually a heavy story, quite horrid in parts. Yet it emits a quiet beauty about the leaps some women will make for another. This is not a fun read. Nor is it a story I'd want to read again. Yet it is an extremely thought-provoking, well-written book. It's one I'll recommend to a select few and one that I would like to discuss with others who have already read it. If anything it is utterly unforgettable.

My Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

If I had to sum it up in one phrase it would be: A heavy, emotional read that will have you questioning the lengths which you would go for a fellow human being.


Sweet Em said...

Hum...that sounds like my kind of read...and I get to pick the book club book in October.

Sweet Em said...

What would you rate the "emotional manipulation quotient" of this book? Do the bad things that happen NEED to happen to get the point across, or are they just to make me cry?

Heather said...

For the most part the things that happened had to happen or the story would not be. I believe there is a level of truth in the things that occurred in this novel. The events are things we should be thinking about and acting on (political nature), yet are all things that we tend to shield ourselves from.
This is a great book to discuss and will remain on your mind for weeks after reading. I have heard that this will be made into a movie but be warned, if it follows the book closely, it will be rated R.

Kari said...

This intrigues me. Thanks for the review. It sparked my interest.


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