Thursday, July 16, 2009

Babbling about Books -- Thursday -- Little Bee

Little Bee: A Novel
Author: Chris Cleave
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2009

Wow! Every so often you find a jewel of a book. I found Little Bee, the second novel by Chris Cleave. I am going to read his first novel, Incendiary, right away. Little Bee holds a captive audience with great writing and narrative form.

The protagonist, Little Bee is a 16-year-old refugee from Nigeria who is always looking for a suicidal option for "when the men come". After the first chapter I cared deeply about Little Bee, and by the second chapter I knew that the book held a horrible history for Little Bee. Although I dreaded knowing the story, at the same time I couldn’t put the book down until I knew the story.

There is some humor with a four-year-old boy who believes himself to be Batman and chasing the “baddies.” The book reveals the upside and downside of family and friends. It also displays humanity’s horror and honor. Little Bee is a story that cannot be guessed. The crafted writing gives clues to the narrative throughout, but the twists and turns still come at unexpected times. An accurate reviewer said, “Cleave has given us a beautifully written, witty, heartbreaking, evocative, suspenseful and horrific novel.”

If you read and enjoyed the The Kite Runner, then Little Bee is a must read. I expect that your local library will have several copies, but also a long waiting list. Little Bee is worth the wait.

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