Author: Chris Cleave
Genre: Adult fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5
Challenges: Where Are You Reading, PoC, What's in a Name (size), Awesome Authors
FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a gift
Summary (from the back of the book): This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of htem has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again--their story starts here.... Once you have 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.
Review: Wow. How to review this book and still follow the directive on the back of the book.... This is going to be tough. I read this book for my MUS Moms book group and boy am I glad that we picked it! We are a group that likes to read books based in countries outside the US (check), that deal with interesting issues (check), and that can stir up a discussion (check). I think it will be easier to do this review as a series of short statements so that I am not tempted to give too much away.
- Characters--one woman is British and in her early 30s while the other is a 16-year-old Nigerian. There are a few periphery characters as well but their purpose really is to reveal the story of these two women. From the beginning I was pulled into their story and I liked the way the chapters alternated points of view between the two women. Cleave has done a great job of giving each woman her own voice through accent, word choice, and attitude.
- Setting--I liked that this took place in both Nigeria and Britain (more on that below in my new feature). The descriptions weren't flowery and gave the reader just enough information to form an image of where the characters were for each "scene"
- Plot--O.M.G. This is the part I can't expound upon. I know that seems crazy, but if you know anything about the plot it will ruin the book when you read it. Just know that it follows the relationship between these two women as their lives collide at two separate times. Every decision each woman makes determines the direction both lives take.
I am participating in the Where Are you Reading challenge hosted by Sheila at Book Journey so I am posting this to my Google Map. In addition, I liked Rebecca of I'm Lost in Books' idea of listing books related to a country or people each week. So, I've decided to add a little paragraph to each review that I am calling the Geography Connection. And, who am I kidding? I love maps and geography and travel so this fits right in with who I am!
Little Bee takes place in both Great Britain (in and around London) and in Nigeria. Honestly, when I think of Nigeria I think of blood diamonds, oil, and an African nation that is doing better than most. I had no idea they had beautiful beaches like the one below; there were many more beautiful photos of Nigerian beaches, but this one seemed to fit the description of the one in the book (beach with jungle). And the London Eye is one of the only well-known London feature mentioned in the book.
Other books I've read and enjoyed in the last couple of years based in these two countries:
- England--London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd; Harry Potter books (of course); Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald; Private Peaceful and War Horse by Michael Morpurgo; and Thaw by Fiona Robyn
- Nigeria--Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe