Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Little Bee by Chris Cleave (audio)

"Truly, there is no flag for us floating people.  We are millions, but we are not a nation.  We cannot stay together.  Maybe we get together in ones and twos, for a day or a month or even a year, but then the wind changes and carries the hope away.  Death came and I left in fear.  Now all I have is my shame and the memory of bright colors and the echo of Yevette's laugh.  Sometimes I feel as lonely as the Queen of England."

"It was beautiful, and that is a word I would not have to explain to the girls back home, and I do not need to explain to you, because now we are all speaking the same language.  The waves still smashed against the beach, furious and irresistible.  But me, I watched all of those children smiling and dancing and splashing one another in salt water and bright sunlight, and I laughed and laughed and laughed until the sound of the sea was drowned."

I had no idea what to expect when I first picked up this book.  The back cover was very vague...it talked a lot about not wanting to tell the reader "what happens" and not wanting to "spoil the ending." I'm still not entirely sure what how I felt about the ending, but I think I would have enjoyed the story more with out all the hype on the back.  It was an interesting approach, but not very effective for me.  I think I was expecting too much...and I've found that the best books usually just speak for themselves.

The book tells the story of two women: Little Bee - a young refugee from Nigeria and Sarah: a women living in London who is trying to be a good mother to her 4-year-old son in the mist of a struggling marriage.  The women meet one day on a beach in Nigeria on a day that will change both of their lives forever.  Two years later, Little Bee finds Sarah and the help one another to put their lives back together.

This book was very unique.  There are strong themes of globalization, cultural differences, and and where you fit in with the human race.  It brought up a lot of thought about refugees that can be applied to the United States as well.  Little Bee has a very distinctive personality that shines through as she moves form one world to another in the mist of tragedy.  The story was very sad and moving. And humorous at rare times  - like when Sarah's son Charlie refuses to take of his Batman suit and saves the "goodys" from the "battys" and Little Bee's fascination with the Queen of England as well as how she would explain what is happening her to "the girls back home."  I'm glad that the author was able to add in some comic relief - otherwise I don't know if I would have been able to make it through!

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