Little Bee by Chris Cleave is a sequel to the author’s 2005 novel, Incendiary. The book is inspired by real-life incidents involving an Angolan man seeking asylum in England. This novel is an unusual one. Even its Amazon summary goes like this- We don’t want to tell you too much about this book. It is an extraordinary story and we don’t want to spoil it.
Just like the protagonist in the book, The Little Bee also has another name, under which it was published in the UK, The Other Hand. Below is our review of the book.
Little Bee is divided into two sections, both narrated by different female voices. A 16-year-old Nigerian girl narrates the first part. She likes to be called Little Bee. There is a tragic story behind it, which is revealed at a crucial point in the novel. The girl is seeking treatment at an asylum in England after her family was brutally murdered by people wanting ownership of their oil fields.
Sarah Summers narrates the 2nd part. The similarity between both Little Bee and Sarah Summers is they don’t like to be called by their real names. Sarah Summers lives comfortably with her husband and their Batman obsessed 4-year-old son. But her life too is laced with a tragedy that’s not understandable from the surface. You have to dig deep into her life to find it out.
The story gets edgier as it merges with the two characters, giving way to a series of events. Through the story, the writer aims to say what tragedy can do to a person. It can unmask their pretentious lives and make them come out strongest. It’s a bitter story about survival and never giving up despite the hardships.
We give it 4 stars. Little Bee needs to be read for its marvelous story and the strength of the characters. It needs to be read for its message of never losing hope and courage and always shining bright no matter what.