Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

little-beeWE DON’T WANT TO TELL YOU TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS BOOK. 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.” – Goodreads

My heart is broken. Shattered, in fact. After just now finishing reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave, I feel absolutely emotionally drained. Yet, somehow… uplifted. This tragically captivating and heart-wrenchingly hopeful novel has completely captured my heart and even though I’m done with it, it is not done with me. You know those books that come along now and then that change you just a little bit? This is one of those.

If you read the above summary from Goodreads, you can see that I’m not supposed to share much from the book. And it’s true that it would take away from both the beauty and horror of this tale if I were to do so. Instead, please allow me to try to convince you to read this gorgeous work of literature anyway.

Three of our main characters include: an African refugee, a young British widow, and Batman. Yes, you heard me – Batman. Batman is wonderful in this novel, actually. You will find so many things in this tale: tragedy, beauty, hope, humor, sorrow, duplicity, courage, betrayal, love, devotion, and forgiveness. I cannot begin to express the sheer magnificence of Chris Cleave’s writing here. And while I can’t divulge more of the actual storyline, here is something that Cleave himself wrote in a note to his readers:

“I hoped that if I brought these [characters] together in their own voices then the result could be surprising – maybe even beautiful. Over to you to decide whether it is those things. All I can say is that researching Little Bee changed me and made me grateful for the most basic gifts, like safety and peace and the simple right to work. If you read Little Bee, I hope above all that you will simply enjoy it!”

Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Buy it, read it… I dare you not to cry.

4.5 out of 5

Source: Free Library of Philadelphia Digital Library

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