Review: Little Bee

From the first chapter of Little Bee, I was hooked.  The writing was exquisite, the characters interesting, the story compelling and the plot unique.

Like the book jacket itself states, I don't want to tell you too much about the book.  First of all, where would I begin?  Secondly, how could I stop?  While reading the book I tried to describe the story to my husband, David, and I know I was singularly unsuccessful.

However, this is a review and those who read this deserve something for their troubles, so I'll try again.

Little Bee has spent two years in an immigration facility in England, where she has learned impeccable English.  She is in England because of an encounter on a beach in her native Nigeria, and she brings with her only two items tossed aside on that beach, considered worthless to everyone but her.

She is alone, but in remarkable company.  Her journey takes her places I could never imagine.

I was most struck by Little Bee's observations and her precise, gorgeous language.

This book was written by a man whose native language is English, and yet he writes crisply as a young Nigerian woman fresh to this new world.  Cleave's words never err when he writes as any of the characters, but his presentation of Little Bee stuns me.  No language translates seamlessly from one natural rhythm to another — and in this book, Cleave writes Little Bee like someone translating herself into English.  I was captivated.

Please read this book, then let me know what you think.


  1. I too enjoyed it. And yes it's a hard book to describe. I think the relationship between the characters was fascinating. And the writing was very gripping.

  2. What was your favorite scene? I think mine was between Little Bee and Lawrence, when she reveals more about her last encounter with Andrew.


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