Simpson Swiss Blog
 

 

 

 

Book Review:
Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Little Bee is an irresistible delight, a captivating moving story of a Nigerian girl that glued me to my seat. Indeed, this is a book you can't put down.

My birthday month (May) showered me lots of pleasant surprises and one Saturday afternoon I was able to tear myself away from my household chores and began turning the pages of this book like a hungry bookworm.

 

A few minutes after midnight I was glued to the last page. This beautiful and compassionate story is sprinkled with funny yet thought-provoking lines that made me more understand the predicament of people like Little Bee.

I've seen a lot of them here in the city where I work. Usually they're young black men with sad or fearful looks roaming the streets aimlessly, standing at the bus stops or train stations clutching their plastic bags.

Oftentimes I do wonder whether they left their countries because they are victims of war, social injustices, political unrest and/or natural catastrophes. Or, they just want to move on and live a life that matters.

These refugees and asylum seekers are everywhere now - in your community and mine.
We could not ignore their presence anymore.

Book Cover Little Bee

In today's world that is constantly rocked by big and powerful waves of refugees and asylum seekers from all ends of the earth, finding a "new home" in a strange land is a mind-blowing experience.

To all the Little Bees of the world, may you find happiness wherever you may be. Hope that one day soon you could proudly say - "today my life begins…"

To my friend Niklaus, thank you so much for introducing me to Chris Cleave and this bestseller!

To you my dear friends, I'm highly recommending this very interesting book.

Note: "LITTLE BEE" is published in the United Kingdom as "THE OTHER HAND".

My Book Rating:
My book rating 5 stars

 

Little Bee by Chris Cleave - What's It All About:

This is the story of a young girl called Little Bee who escaped Nigeria and ended up in a British immigration detention centre where she stayed for two years. After her release she sought the only British person she knows.

Her encounters with Andrew, his wife (Sarah) and their only child (Charlie) brought back the ugly memories of that unforgettable event on the beach in Nigeria. The nightmares that haunted them resurfaced and changed their lives dramatically.

Their whole new world brought Little Bee, Sarah and Charlie closer to one another.
Despite their differences in age, skin colour, upbringing and status in life both shared an extraordinary strength to move on and be there for one another and for Charlie. Fate gave these two women another chance to help heal their scars, physical and emotional.

 

Points to Ponder (Excerpts from the book):

"Once a week, I sat on the foam mattress of my bed and I painted my toenails. I found the little bottle of nail varnish at the bottom of a charity box. It still had the price ticket on it. If I ever discover the person who gave it then I will tell them, for the cost of one British pound and ninety-nine pence, they saved my life. Because this is what I did in that place, to remind myself I was alive underneath everything."

"In your country, if you are not scared enough already, you can go to watch a horror film. Afterward you can go out of the cinema into the night and for a while there is horror in everything. Perhaps there are murderers lying in wait for you at home.

You think this because there is a light on in your house that you are certain you did not leave on. Horror in your country is something you take a dose of to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it."

"Lawrence frowned. "I don't get you, "he said. "If you understood how serious your situation is, I don't think you'd smile." I shrugged. "If I could not smile, I think my situation would be even more serious."

"Isn't it sad, growing up? You start off like my Charlie. You start off thinking you can kill all the baddies and save the world. Then you get a little bit older, maybe Little Bee's age, and you realize that some of the world's badness is inside you, that maybe you're a part of it.

And then you get a little bit older still, and a bit more comfortable, and you start wondering whether that badness you've seen in yourself is really all that bad at all."

"Well, you see, it was hard to become Little Bee. I had to go through a lot of things. They kept me in prison and I had to train myself to think in a certain way, and to be strong, and to speak your language the way you people speak it.

"If your face is swollen from the severe beatings of life, smile and pretend to be a fat man." - Nigerian proverb.

 

Finally, let's sit back, relax and enjoy the song
- Today My Life Begins by Bruno Mars

Play Music music

Lyrics: Today My Life Begins

I've been working hard so long
Seems like pain has been my only friend
My fragile heart has been done so wrong
I wondered if I'd ever heal again

Oh just like all the seasons never stay the same
All around me I can feel a change (oh)

I will break these chains that bind me, happiness will find me
Leave the past behind me, today my life begins
A whole new world is waiting it's mine for the taking
I know I can make it, today my life begins

Yesterday has come and gone
And I've learn how to leave it where it is
And I see that I was wrong
For ever doubting I could win

Oh just like all the seasons never stay the same
All around me I can feel a change (oh)

I will break these chains that bind me, happiness will find me
Leave the past behind me, today my life begins
A whole new world is waiting it's mine for the taking
I know I can make it, today my life begins

Life's too short to have regrets
So I'm learning now to leave it in the past and try to forget
Only have one life to live
So you better make the best of it

I will break these chains that bind me, happiness will find me
Leave the past behind me, today my life begins
A whole new world is waiting it's mine for the taking
I know I can make it, today my life begins.

Luzette Simpson - August 06, 2011