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Little Bee: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, February 10, 2009
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You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.
Top Customer Reviews
Briefly, "Little Bee" is about a young Nigerian refugee whose very existence changes the lives of a group of English citizens in dramatic ways. It's a good story and well-written but it would be silly of me to say that I don't want to tell you more because I don't want to spoil it for you. That would feel like me saying "I have NO idea what this is about."
It's about sadness. Really. It's not funny, except perhaps in small details where you might find yourself smiling ruefully. It's a sad book filled with sad and often thoughtless people. It's about how we cover our sadness with layers of so-called civilization, wrap our fears in popular culture, and never ever have the opportunity to face any of it and learn to rise above. Little Bee knows how to rise above. She's known how to do it her whole life because there's nowhere to hide in her country. Poverty, abuse and death are common where she is from, and if you don't want them to destroy you, they must be transcended.
I read the first two chapters just waiting for the comedy to begin. I waited for the beach scene with a measure of anxiety. I waited for some enormous surprise which I would long to tell others, but would keep to myself out of a sense of reader's decency.Read more ›
All in all however, I was very disappointed with this story. As a Nigerian, I feel that the book demonstrated little research. Any African country's name could have been inserted into this book and it would not have made a difference. Knowing that the author had lived in Cameroon, I had hoped for something different. In fact, he would have done better to come up with a fictional African country or perhaps just an unidentified one. Aside from the Niger delta crisis backdrop, (which was not fully fleshed out at all) the only indication that this book was dealing with Nigeria was the occasional "wahala" or the author stating it. Many reviewers gushed about how they loved little bee's accent and her use of "Weh", I however was confused. What does Weh mean? I have never heard a Nigerian utter that in my life, and I asked other Nigerians to verify. What I love about reading Nigerian literature is that I can hear the story as well as read it. Ours is an oral culture and authors like Chimamanda Adichie exemplify this by coloring their writing with Nigerian idioms and words which allow you to hear Nigeria as well as read about it. I could not hear Nigeria in this story. I heard a mediocre attempt to sound African, much like the generic deep accents that pass as African in Hollywood.
Failing to do research on a country like Nigeria is extremely problematic. Black people and people of color in general already have the unfortunate burden of being represented by one image, so this book serves to reinforce the notion of Africa as a savage jungle.Read more ›
Cleave's skillful pace brings us along in measured doses to the horrible thing that happened on a beach in Nigeria. What do a 4-year old boy who thinks he's Batman, his widowed, 9-fingered, mother Sarah, and his anguished father, have to do with Little Bee? Not only are we propelled to read what happened on that beach...we are compelled to know what will happen next.
Alternating voices of Little Bee and Sarah circle around the beach story. This is great storytelling; skillful foreshadowing, the careful scattering of clues, building suspense and dread.
Little Bee's plight overlays a rich and disturbing subtext of broader issues such as the unfathomable abyss between first and third world countries, the dark politics of oil, the labyrinthine plight of refugees and insight into UK detention centers.
Cleave has given us a beautifully written, witty, heartbreaking, evocative, suspenseful and horrific novel.
The story unfolds quietly giving you snapshots into the lives of the different characters but without letting you in on the full plot. Some characters you barely get to admire before you leave behind as Little Bee moves on, others develop as the story goes (Sarah, for instance).
I found both the premise and the characters to be engaging and am somewhat surprised by some negative reviews melting the story down to a UK/Nigeria Colonial War sort or moral. If that is all you take from this book then you have missed it, entirely. You've missed Sarah and her son, you've missed Yevette from Jamaica and the girl with no name... and you've certainly missed Little Bee.
Again, fantastic book that I recommend to anyone looking for well-crafted prose with a personality.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The writing and characters are compelling, and the story is one that is deep and worth telling. Yet the end felt flat. Read morePublished 12 days ago by korndog
I was not impressed with this book at all. The story itself would have been okay if there wasn't so much page filler fluff about nothing at all. Read morePublished 16 days ago by M.T.L.
I read this novel for my Book Club. Although it took the entire first chapter to capture my interest, I am glad I stuck with it. The convergence of stories is well worth the readPublished 25 days ago by linda caldwell epps
Another enjoyable read about an area of Africa that I have read about and seen on TV.
Helped me understand the reason this girl is a refugee and needed to escape the... Read more
Fire, blood, sweat, tears and fear, all balanced against a small boy in a Batman costume. Turning, twisting, riveting. Worth the read.Published 26 days ago by Macho Mama