“Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl. Everyone would be pleased to see me coming”. So begins the novel “Little Bee'” a dual narrative story by Chris Cleave.
Written in 2008, this novel has two first person voices. One voice is Little Bee, the Nigerian asylum seeker and the other is Sarah, the British magazine editor. They meet on the beach when Sarah and her husband Andrew take a vacation to Nigeria. Little Bee is being pursued by some bad guys and quickly Andrew and Sarah are faced with a horrible decision.
What would you be willing to do to help save the life of a stranger?
During the sections that Little Bee narrates, she tries to make sense of the world we live in by trying to figure out how she would explain things to “the girls back home”. Some of her musings are hysterically funny but much of it is also incredibly sad. It was explained to Little Bee that to survive in Britian she must learn to “look good or talk even better.”
Then Sarah narrates with the contemporary modern voice of a woman living in a democracy. Sarah should “have it all” but ironically, her life is just as messed up as Little Bee’s. She has just buried her husband and is now officially dating her lover. Oh and her 4 year old son wears a Batman costume 24/7. The novel paints her as the heroine because it is her quick thinking on the beach saved Little Bee’s life.
The book is a great read and will be good for book discussions. Would you have been able to save Little Bee? Can you see Sarah as the heroine?
While reading this novel, I did a little research on refugees or political asylum seekers. The novel opens with Little Bee living in a detention center in England. I learned that Britian has 11 detention centers. The US also holds on average 31,000 people each day.
This book is being made into a movie that Nicole Kidman is producing and starring. Read this one quick, we all know the book is better than the movie and reading the book ahead of the movie enhances it. It should be good.