Sometimes I’m just drawn to books for no particular reason. They just seem to make their way into my hands and beg me to purchase them. Little Bee was one of those books. It caught my attention seconds before I walked up to the checkout at my local second hand book store. After I read the inside flap, I was sold. “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.” – Ok, if this isn’t enough to get you curious, I don’t know what will. And so, I am now the proud owner of Little Bee by Chris Cleave.
I will do my best to explain the premise of this book without giving out too much, since the author obviously wanted the readers to dive in the story blind.
The story follows two women: Little Bee and Sarah O’Rourke, one from Nigeria and the other from Britain. They have met before, many years ago, due to an unfortunate situation. Now they meet again. Through the novel, we follow each women’s path which brought them together for the second time.
Cleave is truly a remarkable writer. His sentences have a sort of poetic vibe to them that makes reading his book even more enjoyable. All the while, he is able to give each characters their own personality and dialect which helps us connect and care for these characters.
I also found the structure of the book interesting. Throughout the novel, we find ourselves going back and forth between the two women, experiencing events from their different perspective. We start the book with no knowledge whatsoever of the events that took place and as we progress through the book, and more information is revealed, we start to put the puzzle pieces together and understand the situation.
Little Bee isn’t a light read but a truly rewarding one. Cleave is able to bring so many intense subjects into a novel without it being a overwhelming read. It’s clever and even has a bit of humour thrown in the mix at times. If you haven’t read this book and are in the mood for a contemporary fiction. If you enjoyed The Dinner by Herman Koch (I felt they both had similar elements) , might I suggest adding this book to your To-Be-Read pile?
“Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing you know something fine will happen to her, something marvelous, and then she will turn around and smile.”
― Chris Cleave, Little Bee