Customer Reviews for

Little Bee

Average Rating 3.5
( 1218 )
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(357)

4 Star

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(262)

2 Star

(145)

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(97)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

51 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

This is an eye-opening and devastating book!

Little Bee by Chris Cleave is the story of what happens when the lives of Sarah, a British magazine editor and Little Bee, a Nigerian teenager collide. The resulting conflict is spectacular and stunning. This is an eye-opening , devastating book told from the perspectiv...
Little Bee by Chris Cleave is the story of what happens when the lives of Sarah, a British magazine editor and Little Bee, a Nigerian teenager collide. The resulting conflict is spectacular and stunning. This is an eye-opening , devastating book told from the perspectives of these two very different women, neither of whom can turn a blind eye to the tragedies taking place around them.

This was a hard book for me to read. The jacket blurb in no way prepares you for what is coming and the story, though it leaves you with some hope, is ultimately very sad. However, this is a book that you need to read, if only to be more aware of what is happening in other parts of the world and how little we are doing to stop these tragedies. Maybe this book will persuade more people to follow Sarah's example and refuse to turn a blind eye.

posted by Frisbeesage on February 18, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

15 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

Ehhh

After reading the back cover and the first chapter I was hooked. But in the long run the story didn't really develop itself... I was just learning about the characters when the book ended... not my favorite but its a good first 3 chapters

posted by Sweetsaki on June 6, 2010

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  • Posted February 18, 2009

    This is an eye-opening and devastating book!

    Little Bee by Chris Cleave is the story of what happens when the lives of Sarah, a British magazine editor and Little Bee, a Nigerian teenager collide. The resulting conflict is spectacular and stunning. This is an eye-opening , devastating book told from the perspectives of these two very different women, neither of whom can turn a blind eye to the tragedies taking place around them.<BR/><BR/>This was a hard book for me to read. The jacket blurb in no way prepares you for what is coming and the story, though it leaves you with some hope, is ultimately very sad. However, this is a book that you need to read, if only to be more aware of what is happening in other parts of the world and how little we are doing to stop these tragedies. Maybe this book will persuade more people to follow Sarah's example and refuse to turn a blind eye.

    51 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    Ehhh

    After reading the back cover and the first chapter I was hooked. But in the long run the story didn't really develop itself... I was just learning about the characters when the book ended... not my favorite but its a good first 3 chapters

    15 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Beautiful Book

    "Little Bee" is beautifully written, filled with lines and imagery to dogear and revisit. Two very powerful female leads -- Nigerian immigrant Little Bee and English professional Sarah Summers -- carry the novel, as their lives overlap amid a kind of violence that is hard for sheltered Westerners to imagine, in moments whose depth is obvious, but whose repercussions neither is able to predict. As Little Bee aptly puts it, "Horror in your country is something you take a dose of to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it."

    An excellent counterpoint to the current anti-immigration fervor, that will sadly escape (or intellectually outpace) the audience that needs to read it most.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2009

    Not What I Thought It Was

    It wasn't as wonderful as I thought it to be. In the end I forced myself to finish it, thinking well maybe it gets better as I go on. Sadly though that was not the case.

    10 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    AMAZING! RIVETTING! NOT A PLEASURE READ PARTICULARLY BUT DEFINITELY A LEARNING EXPERIENCE!

    Little Bee is a beautiful blending of cultures, quandaries, strength, courage, love and identity.
    When Sarah and her husband, Andrew, are vacationing in Nigeria, they come across Little Bee and her sister on the beach. Two years later, after Little Bee manages to make it to England, she calls on Sarah.
    The novel has two narrators, both Little Bee and Sarah. These women were from such different worlds, yet they formed a bond and treated each other with dignity and respect. The young girl in Nigeria has endured and witnessed such unthinkable and unspeakable evil, but the author found a way to write hope and life-affirming quality into this brilliant storyline. This is about survival and about living and about reminding us, Americans, how fortunate we are and how we CAN make a difference. AMAZING AND RIVETTING!

    9 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2009

    Best Book I've ever read.

    The dexterity with which Cleave, a male author, writes these two women - Sarah and Little Bee - is nothing short of miraculous. The prose is both beautiful and approachable, and the range of emotions I felt while reading made me want to not put the book down. It is the only book I'm recommending to my friends and family. I'm a non-stop reader, and this is truly one of the best books I've ever come across. I highly, highly recommend it.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    Save your Money!!

    I bought this book because it was a "best seller." I couldn't get past page 100, and I made myself read that far hoping it would get better. It is the most boring book I have EVER read!! I'd rather read the Scarlet Letter 100 times before I read this book. The plot is stupid, the characters are stupid, the whole book is horrible!! SAVE your money please.

    6 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Little Bee

    Very heart-wrenching. Not a "make-you-feel good" book, but a book to move your soul and make you think.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    You can't judge a book by it's cover

    I read Chris Cleave's last book Incendiary, and really enjoyed it. Here the author takes on female characters and I never felt like he truly spoke from a girl or woman's perspective. The characters and their reactions were not realistic to me. The story is just not believable, if these Londoners are sharp enough to have the careers they do, then how do they make such questionable decisions elsewhere. I was bored, but loved the cover!

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2009

    Little Bee

    I was dissapointed by the book. It was rated at 3.5 "stars".I would only give it 2.It was an interesting story but the ending was not easily believable.There was too much hype about not giving away the ending when really it didn't matter.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    more than a little depressing

    I've recently read T.C. Boyle's Tortilla Curtain, which dealt with the heartbreaking, backbreaking lives of illegal immigrants in the U.S. The tension and turmoil leap off the page in that book, but I found Little Bee a disappointment. Yes, the true grit of the novel unfolds little by little, but the plot failed to engage me for some reason. The accolades on the back indicate that it's supposed to be witty, but I missed the wit somehow and found it to be one of the most depressing books ever. Sixteen-year-old Little Bee, along with several other women, is released without immigration papers from a detention center in London. She is a refugee from Nigeria, where all of her family members were murdered for the oil deposits in their village. She makes her way to the home of Andrew O'Rourke and his wife Sarah, whom she met on a beach in Nigeria. (The beach encounter is the crux of the story and not fully revealed until at least midway through the book.) She appears at Sarah's door on the day of Andrew's funeral, after he has committed suicide, ostensibly from anguish after Little Bee phoned that she was on her way to his house. What bothered me here were how many asinine decisions the characters made, which had extremely tragic consequences. Why would Sarah's married lover, Laurence, show up on her doorstep the day of Sarah's husband's funeral? Why would she let him stay? Why would he ask Little Bee, who is in danger of being deported, to make the call to the police when Sarah's son Charlie goes missing? (OK, maybe he had an ulterior motive here.) Why would you allow your 4-year-old to wear a Batman outfit 24/7 for months, complete with full face mask, until you finally had to buy a second costume so that the other could be laundered? This is all head-scratchingly absurd. I will say this for Charlie in the Batman outfit. There's obviously a metaphor woven throughout the story about his being a superhero, but it didn't occur to me until the end that it also hides the (white) color of his skin.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Little Bee" is the fictional story of a Nigerian teenager

    "Little Bee" is the fictional story of a Nigerian teenager named aptly named Little Bee whose family had the misfortune of living in a small village on a valuable Nigerian oil deposits. Little Bee meets British magazine editor Sarah O'Rourke on a beach in Nigeria and their lives are changed and intertwined forever. What happened on that beach that fateful day is part of the mystery of the book which slowly reveals itself.

    Besides the teenage refugee Sarah has to contend with other twists and turns life throws at her which includes her little son who refuses to take off his Batman costume, a lover, a job and a husband who is constantly in the background.

    The book is told in two voices, one of Little Bee and the other of Sarah, we see the events from both their eyes but it's more like a continuation. Little Bee finishes a narration and Sarah picks up from where she left off and vice versa.

    I liked "Little Bee" and the ending caught me a bit by surprise and I liked the distinct voices author Chris Cleave tries to use - it made the story more interesting and gave us a bit of background about Little Bee without having to resort to flashbacks.

    That being said, I felt that the story was "forced", as if the author wrote the story backwards and then forced events / plot twists to come to that conclusion, it was as if the book was overly structured instead of just flowing.

    I also didn't find the characters very likable; the most appealing was Little Bee and I felt for Sarah who seemed to have her life coming apart at the seams slowly and then just tear from beneath her, but she seemed to be one of those women who justify every mistake or bad decision they make by either blaming someone else or "needing to take care of myself" - a bit selfish, with very little depth and, excuse me, a bit stupid or willfully blind to reality.

    I still liked the book, it was an interesting topic and didn't try to look at the immigration situation in the UK through rose colored glasses or simplify it into good and bad, but shades of gray as are most things in life are.

    Is this book as important as it claims to be (right on the cover)?
    That's up to history to decide. We all know that horrible things are taking place around the world in "our name" so we can live in comfort and relative safety. Most of us are also willfully turn a blind eye or choose to believe the propaganda justifying the actions - this is nothing new.

    For more reviews visit: www.ManOfLaBook.com

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2010

    Heavy subject matter, but couldn't put it down!

    This book was really good. I feel a little weird saying that since a friend really didn't like it because of the violence, but I couldn't put it down. It does have violence, and is depressing, but I found it really, really interesting. The ending was not what one hoped for for the characters but that didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. It also is eye opening regarding a very real situation going on on the world that I don't think a lot of people know about.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2010

    Where's the end?

    I enjoyed Little Bee. Until the end. This just seems to be another one where the author runs out of steam and decides to go with one of those "cool" non-ending endings. We'll never know what happened to Little Bee. Or to Sarah and Charlie for that matter. I for one like books with closure.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2010

    Dreadful

    This book was the worst book i ever read and my whole entire life and let me tell you i have read many. It had no point to it whats so ever. The only reason i read this book was because the book store was telling everyone they should read it that it was awesome, well they must have not been somber or something because i would never tell anyone to buy this book, i would tell them to stay ten miles from it. I just felt like the world had a right to know what they were buying before they did wish someone told me :(

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2009

    waste of paper

    I must remember this technique when I write my book. All hype and no substance. Got me to read it. Next time I will watch paint dry.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2009

    Original / Riveting / and Ultimately Despairing

    Little Bee is an original story, one I had difficulty putting down. While the girl Little Bee is the focus of the story, readers will more likely identify with the modern, flawed Sarah of the western world. The author shows in simple but brutal clarity the tremendous differences between our two worlds, and offers a touch of hope when Sarah is unable or unwilling to turn a blind eye to the tragedy of Nigerian refugees. I expected to see more development in the conflict between Little Bee and Sarah's lover, and the end was ultimately despairing. Despite that, however, I felt it was realistic, and did not sugar coat a tragic situation. Worth reading, if only to unsettle yourself from complacency.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Fantastic

    A real page-turner. One of those books where the characters follow you even after you've finished reading it. Haunting, in a way.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

    Devastating but felt empty reading it

    I realize that the book received acclaims and awards.. but I read it and it did not feel like a complete, or deep story. It was a devastating topic.. not eye opening (unfortunately - the horrific crimes occur way too often)... It ends - all wrapped up in 2 paragraphs tying up loose ends.. I was very dissappointed reading it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Intense, But Enjoyable

    It's hard to say much about The Little Bee without giving the dramatic plot away, but let's just say you need to be ready for intense, sometimes disturbing imagery, that gives way to a beautiful, at times tough story that truly draws you in. The characters seemed so real, and their ups and downs affected me -- which to me, is the sign of a great read.

    There were a few times when I questioned if the whole thing was bit much, a bit too outlandish, but I think the book's climax really had to happen the way it did in order to make the meat of the story believable. Everyone in my book club loved it, and I look forward to tackling another Chris Cleave read soon.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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