What's with the back cover? All mysterious and such?
"We don't want to tell you WHAT HAPPENS in this book. It is a truly SPECIAL STORY and we don't want to spoil it. NEVERTHELESS, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this:
This is the story of two women...(cont'd)
For all the mysteriousness on the back cover and the pages upon pages of high praise contained in my edition, I have to say I was prepared to be "blown away" (as The Washington Post promises on the front cover). But I wasn't.
Little Bee has fled her home country of Nigeria after first witnessing some horrific acts and then eluding capture and death. To escape what is surely to be her fate, she decides to be a stowaway on a cargo ship and winds up in the UK. As the book begins, she has just been released from a UK immigration detention center. Alone in a foreign country with only the clothes on her back, Little Bee seeks out the one English person she knows: Sarah, a mother and magazine editor who had an unusual encounter with Little Bee on a beach in Nigeria while on a holiday with her husband, Andrew.
The author's main focus in this book is the immigration status of refugees and the deplorable treatment they receive at these detention centers. Though the book isn't really a tirade versus the treatment of the refugees and the bureaucracy that encourages it, it does open the door for it to be investigated, discussed, etc. And that, in itself, is one of the great things about this book and one of the reasons why you should read it. (I mean, I had no idea this existed! And it happens in the UK?! I guess for once I am the egocentric American, as I thought We had cornered the market on the "this-is-mine-and-I-must-protect-it-from-the-likes-of-you" attitude.)
The book has two narrators: Little Bee and Sarah. And though the book's subject matter is important and should be read, I felt it fell flat - more so in Sarah's chapters than in Little Bee's. Little Bee's chapters and her plight as a refugee - not having anyone and not belonging anywhere, were more compelling. It's not a bad book, but it's not really as great as the four pages of praise would lead you to believe.
the prose was a bit hard to follow in her broken way of talking, but an interesting story with a cliff hanger/make your own ending. It's hard to describe.
The reviews on 'Little Bee' have been very mixed, as were reviews today when discussed at Book Club. Personally, I expected so much more...but was sadly disappointed. Discussion questions asked, 'What will you do with this knowledge?', and that would be my question to the author. Knowing what you know, having the forum you have, what will you...what have you done with this knowledge?
After reading some of the reviews, I wasn't sure what if I wanted to read it. I am so glad I did. Though it takes place in England, it could be the US. To say Little Bee is an engaging character is an understatement. She is smarter than any other characters in the book. Once you start, you will want to finish this.
It was excellent. It took many twists and turns, but
constantly tugged at your heart.
From the beginning of this book, I was engaged. What was the tramatic thing that happened on the beach? When I discovered the truth, I felt compassion for all of the main characters. What would I have done under the same circumstances. This book was thought provoking, relavant and deeply emotional.
I only picked up this book because I needed something to read on the 30-min bus ride to work. It starts out vague in the beginning, leaving you wanting to find out what happened to Bee and how she knows this couple in England. It's not really magical, though, it's pretty depressing. And I could go without the son's horrible grammer.