Little Bee, by Chris Cleave, had a lot to live up to in my mind. I am the kind of person who gets very attached to books and characters and, before this book, I had just finished The Hunger Games series. I was definitely in one of those "oh my gosh, I will never in my life read another book that is this good" kind of mood. I get in those often after reading really good books.
My brother is the one who bought this book for me. He is a high school English teacher, lover of good books, and all around awesome person. I know that anytime he recommends a book it is going to be good. He got me this one as a Christmas gift this year. He said he couldn't wait for me to read it because it was so good and he wanted to talk with me about it. Fair enough, I started the next day and quickly made my way through the entire book.
I will keep in step with what Cleave has put on the back cover:
"We don't want to tell you what happens in this book. It truly is a special story and we don't want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know enough to buy it so we will just say this: This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face."
This book reveals the story of what happened to these women a piece at a time. It leaves you turning the pages as quickly as you can, wanting to find out the whole story. Every time you learn a new bit of the story, you think that must be it. That has to be the worst of it. But the tragedy continues to unfold. Although the story is tragic, it also has hope sprinkled in throughout. You want to like these characters and you want good things to come to them.
One of my favorite characters in the books, is the little 4 year old who goes by the name Batman. He always wears the costume and is on a mission to fight the "goodies" and "baddies" of the world. Cleave captured the 4 year old mindset so perfectly. As I was reading it, I couldn't help but think of my own little 4 year old and feel a connection.
Overall, this is a wonderful book with a wonderfully tragic story. I don't know how Cleave got inside the heads of a Nigerian girl and an English woman so well, but the voices he gives them are spot on. The story makes you question yourself, and what you would do in a situation like theirs. I'm all for books that challenge you and make you think, and this is definitely one. I hope you will read it and enjoy it as much as I did.