Little Bee – Chris Cleave

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It has been a little while since I read this, but I didn’t want to pass up the chance to tell you about it. It’s one of those amazing books that can be horrific and terrifying on the one hand and full of hope on the other. It made me want to stop what I was doing and go change the world. Somehow I haven’t managed to do that just yet, but it’s still in the back of my mind. Here’s the review I wrote for my work blog:


It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it.

Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:

It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific.

The story starts there, but the book doesn’t.

And it’s what happens afterward that is most important.

Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

How to write a review with a description like that? And it’s hard to say I loved this book, but I did. It’s the best I’ve read this year. It’s true that the African beach scene is brutal. However much I tried I could not put the book down. I was too caught up in the story. I was literally dizzy when I finished that chapter and it’s not the worst. Chris Cleave is such a good storyteller. I loved Little Bee so much that I had to let her tell her story. Cleave doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war and by personalizing the events, they become more powerful. In an eery twist of events, his first novel about an al-Quaeda attack at a soccer match was published on the day of the July 7th bombings in England. Little Bee is heartwrenching and yet funny. I hope we will hear more from this brilliant up and coming author.

Chris Cleave has a great website, too. He seems very genuine and forgiving of our failings. If you read Little Bee, check out the Q&A on this site. It helps. After you read it, you may find you need to talk about it or learn more. I’m also reading lots of YA fantasy to decompress!


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