Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Setting: Modern-day London and Nigeria.
Story: Okay, I’m going to go along with the book’s marketing team on this one—I can’t really tell you. But the fulcrum of the story involves a British couple, two Nigerian teenagers, and a horrific event on a Nigerian beach that—you know—changes their lives forever.
Writing: The narrative switches between the first-person perspectives of Sarah (the British woman) and Little Bee (one of the Nigerian teenagers). Little Bee’s language is especially entertaining and rhythmic, though at first I thought it was a little patronizing.
Themes: Some pretty heavy stuff underpins this novel: immigration and the treatment of refugees; globalization and its human cost; the meaning and impact of self-sacrifice; what makes a life worth living (or not). It’s meaty, man.
Best thing about it: Interesting plot and Little Bee’s perspective.
Worst thing about it: I found Sarah a bit tedious and her son a lot tedious.
Final thoughts: A good choice for book clubs. You can all ask each other what you would do during the big secret event that I can’t tell you about.