Little Bee

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.

2 responses on “Little Bee

  1. Sigal

    Thank you Andrea for taking the time to write these posts. You make me want to read the book.

  2. Mary Cary Crawford

    Your synopsis really captured the essence of this book, Andrea. I also was a bit frustrated waiting to find out “what happened in Africa” but I feel this help build the story tension. I am often fascinated by how authors chose to structure their stories and this author had an interesting way of telling a tale. Yes, the parts about the detention camps and Nigeria were tough and all too true. Glad you liked it. It has been be one of my best reads this year.