Little Bee is the story of two women who meet on a horrible day that neither wants to remember, but neither can forget. Two years later their lives come together again. Their story is told from their own points of view in alternating chapters.
Little Bee has just been unofficially released from a British detention center where she has lived for two years, learning the Queen’s English, after escaping from Nigeria, where she witnessed her entire village being killed and destroyed. Her coping mechanism, aside from learning to speak like she belongs in Britain, is being able to enter a room and immediately know how she would kill herself there “if the men come.”
Sarah is a magazine editor publishing fluff and nothing of real importance. Her husband, a newspaper columnist, kills himself at the beginning of the book. She is left with a four-year-old son, who dresses as Batman and fights off “baddies” all day; an African refugee who shows up on her doorstep, not knowing anyone else in the country, but not really knowing Sarah either; and the man with whom she’s been having an affair for several years.
Together, Sarah and Little Bee must face what happened on that day two years earlier on a beach in Nigeria. This book is sad. And the characters in this book are sad, but there are moments that make one smile. Little Bee and Batman are the only likable characters, but you can identify with Sarah as she tries (although not always as much as you would like her to) to redeem herself. Overall, I liked it. It made me think deeper than fluff without diving too deep into how horrible the world can be.
Rated: High. The language is harsh, but not overly used. While the F-word and other strong words were used, I didn’t come out of the reading feeling like it was every other word. Horrible, violent things are described, but done so tastefully, without giving too much description. Sexual acts are kept to a minimum, and I did not feel they were explicit in their details.