Friday Morning Bookclub

September 22, 2010

Little Bee: A Review By Dana

The book Little Bee, by Chris Cleave , primarily takes place in Britain where the author makes us aware of the existence of  immigration detention centers that imprison refugees for years at a time regardless of their criminal activity. The focus is on a young Nigerian girl who goes by the name Little Bee and her chance encounter with a young married couple, Sara and Alex, while they are vacationing in Nigeria.   Her life, as well as those of the other characters involved, continuously deals with thoughts of running away and a fear of being discovered.  This takes place in two different countries on a few different fronts.  While Little Bee  deals with the true to life situational fleeing of a refugee, the others deal more with  fleeing  from their own relationships.

Some of the powerful questions addressed in the book have to do with how responsible one is for the particular circumstances they may find themselves in, and how often does one take unnecessary risks in life? Risks that often have everlasting irreversible effects.  For instance,  Sara and Alex’s decision to take advantage of a free vacation in an unstable country changes their lives forever.

At the end, the question is “ Can two very different people living very different lives, somehow help the other and how does one balance the desire for their own survival with that of someone elses?” The book  also addresses the concept of the “goodies and the baddies” as represented by Sara’s son’s continuously worn Batman costume as well as his reference to people in this way. The question to be asked here is, “Is it always so obvious as to who is who?”.

All in all the book was a fast read that was at times captivating and culturally informative, but dealt with depressing subject matters with some uplifting components. Personally, I could have used a few more uplifting components.

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