Chris Cleave | Fiction
I could tell you that Little Bee is about a Nigerian refugee who is put in a detention center in London, detained for two years, and then released and finds the only two people she knows in London. That would be accurate and you would yawn and stop reading this blog post. So instead I will tell you that Little Bee is a colorful story about a young Nigerian woman who escapes horrific violence and makes her way to England, where she is housed is a sub-standard detention center (does this sound familiar so far?) Through a fluke, she and three other young women are spewed out into the outskirts of London without any papers, illegal and scared. Little Bee finds her way to the home of the only people she knows in London, Andrew and Sarah. She met Andrew and Sarah when they were “vacationing” in Nigeria.
Sarah and Little Bee form a profound, complex, and complicated relationship (reminded me of the Netflix show, Dead to Me), which is necessary for both to heal and perhaps to be saved ... if that is possible. While the characters are fiction, the context of the story, the violence in Nigeria and why it has occurred, and the detention center crises, are very real.
I will say at one point, at about page 100 in the 270-page book, I was ready to scream if the author Chris Cleave made one more reference to “what happened in Africa” without telling me what happened in Africa. But he did so, immediately.
I found Cleave’s writing to be energetic and clear. I recommend it. Thank you, Mary for this interesting suggestion.