Friday, April 17, 2009

Little Bee

Little Bee is another title that taunted me from the library's recent acquisitions list so it had to be this month's book of the month for the student services blog. I was intrigued by the cover art (and a review that made its way into my inbox via Powell's Books' Review-a-day newsletter), but I was hooked from the first line: "Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl."

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

A powerful and moving novel, Little Bee tells the story of two very different women connected by one horrific event.

Narrated in turns by Little Bee, a teenager fleeing Nigeria, and Sarah O'Rourke, a women's magazine editor with a seemingly perfect life in London's suburbs, the novel begins in the middle of the story, slowly revealing its genesis and then tripping towards its conclusion.

Written by Guardian columnist Chris Cleave, Little Bee is political but not overtly so. Full of well-drawn characters, the novel is heartwrenching and profoundly personal. It's also very difficult to write about without giving away too much of the plot, which is the last thing I'd want to do as part of the experience of reading the book is discovering the story through the two narrator's perspectives.

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