Little Bee: A Novel

By Chris Cleave
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:Simon & Schuster, (2/10/2009)
Language:English



Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.00 out of 5 (6 Clubie's ratings)


Buy Now From
buy it now from Amazon
buy it now from Barns and Noble
buy it now from Indie Bookstore


 

WE DON'T WANT TO TELL YOU TOO MUCH ABOUT THIS BOOK.

It is a truly special story and we don't want to spoil it.

Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this:

It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific.

The story starts there, but the book doesn't.

And it's what happens afterward that is most important.

Once you have read it, you'll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

 
 

Harriet's thoughts on "Little Bee: A Novel"
updated on:7/30/2012



DEFINITELY Unleash it



SkinnyLinny's thoughts on "Little Bee: A Novel"
updated on:2/7/2012

Great!

DEFINITELY Unleash it



Ingrid Ricks's thoughts on "Little Bee: A Novel"
updated on:1/19/2012



DEFINITELY Unleash it



Lizzy's thoughts on "Little Bee: A Novel"
updated on:8/4/2010



Mildly Unleashable



Silver's Reviews's thoughts on "Little Bee: A Novel"
updated on:7/30/2010

Nigeria, London, Little Bee, Sarah, Lawrence, Andrew, and Batman....all different lives all connected through good and bad situations.

Friendships, suicide, family life, choices, oil, and government...put these all together, and you have a powerful story about how lives inter-twine and are touched no matter what the distance is between all parties.

The story is told by Little Bee, a sixteen-year-old Nigerian refugee and Sarah, a successful journalist....everything isn't given away at once, because the author lets both women "talk" to the reader about events.

The beginning pages are very clever and creative and you think it will be a funny book...it is intense.

You will be drawn into the story very easily, though, through excellent descriptions and situations. You will live and feel all the heartache, emotion, and fear of the circumstances for each character.

It is a powerful, thought-provoking novel

Unleash it



E's Reads's thoughts on "Little Bee: A Novel"
updated on:3/29/2010

Interesting with a bit of a twist. It gave an interesting insight to one immigrant's story. 3/10

Very Unleashable


"Little Bee: A Novel"
By Chris Cleave

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.00 out of 5 (6 Clubie's ratings)


The Gentleman
The Gentleman
By Forrest Leo

 
 
 General reading guide discussion questions to be used with ANY book your book club or reading group might be discussing.
 
 
1. “Sad words are just another beauty. A sad story means, this storyteller is alive” (p. 9). For Little Bee and other asylum seekers, the story of their life thus far is often all they have. What happens to the characters that carry their stories with them, both physically and mentally? What happens when we try to forget our past? How much control over their own stories do the characters in the book seem to have?

2. Little Bee tells the reader, “We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived” (p. 9). Which characters in the story are left with physical scars? Emotional scars? Do they embrace them as beautiful? Do you have any scars you’ve come to embrace? Did you feel more connected to Little Bee as a narrator after this pact?

3. Little Bee strives to learn the Queen’s English in order to survive in the detention center. How does her grasp of the language compare with Charlie’s? How does the way each of these two characters handle the English language help to characterize them?

4. How did it affect your reading experience to have two narrators? Did you trust one woman more than the other? Did you prefer the voice of one above the other?

5. Little Bee credits a small bottle of nail polish for “saving her life” while she was in the detention center (p. 7). Is there any object or act that helps you feel alive and beautiful, even when everything else seems to be falling apart? 

6. Of the English language Little Bee says, “Every word can defend itself. Just when you go to grab it, it can split into two separate meanings so the understanding closes on empty air” (p. 12). What do you think she means by this? Can you think of any examples of English words that defend themselves? Why is language so important to Little Bee?

7. Little Bee says of horror films, “Horror in your country is something you take a dose of to remind yourself that you are not suffering from it” (p. 45). Do you agree? Was reading this novel in any way a dose of horror for you? How did it help you reflect on the presence or lack of horror in your own life? 

8. Little Bee figures out the best way to kill herself in any given situation, just in case “the men come suddenly.” How do these plans help Little Bee reclaim some power? Were you disturbed by this, or were you able to find the humor in some of the scenarios she imagines?

9. What does Udo changing her name to Little Bee symbolize for you? How does her new name offer her protection? Do you think the name suits her?

10. “To have an affair, I began to realize, was a relatively minor transgression. But to really escape from Andrew, to really become myself, I had to go the whole way and fall in love” (p. 161-162). Do you agree with Sarah that an affair is a minor transgression? How did falling in love with someone else help Sarah become herself? What role did Andrew play in perpetuating Sarah’s extramarital affair?

11. When Little Bee finds that Andrew has hanged himself she thinks, “Of course I must save him, whatever it costs me, because he is a human being.” And then she thinks, “Of course I must save myself, because I am a human being too” (p. 194). How do the characters in the story decide when to put themselves first and when to offer charity? Is one human life ever more valuable than another? What if one of the lives in question is your own?



Enhancing Your Book Club

1. Visit Chris Cleave’s website at www.chriscleave.com. You’ll find videos, reviews, behind-the-book extras and interviews.

2. Little Bee says, “I have noticed, in your country, I can say anything so long as I say that is the proverb in my country. Then people will nod their heads and look very serious” (p. 180). Take this opportunity to make up some proverbs to share with your book club. Are there any sayings from your culture that might be a good start?

3. Little Bee and her sister chose new names for themselves. Have your book club members rename one another. Choose names based on characteristics, like Little Bee’s sister Kindness, or on things in nature, like Little Bee.

4. To find out more about asylum seekers here in the U.S. visit http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/asylum/asylum.htm. 




Clubie Submitted Discussion Questions
Have a good question? If your a clubie add one now.
 
 




Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, February 2009: The publishers of Chris Cleave's new novel "don't want to spoil" the story by revealing too much about it, and there's good reason not to tell too much about the plot's pivot point. All you should know going in to Little Bee is that what happens on the beach is brutal, and that it braids the fates of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan (who calls herself Little Bee) and a well-off British couple--journalists trying to repair their strained marriage with a free holiday--who should have stayed behind their resort's walls. The tide of that event carries Little Bee back to their world, which she claims she couldn't explain to the girls from her village because they'd have no context for its abundance and calm. But she shows us the infinite rifts in a globalized world, where any distance can be crossed in a day--with the right papers--and "no one likes each other, but everyone likes U2." Where you have to give up the safety you'd assumed as your birthright if you decide to save the girl gazing at you through razor wire, left to the wolves of a failing state. --Mari Malcolm 

Review
"Besides sharp, witty dialogue, an emotionally charged plot and the vivid characters' ethical struggles, Little Bee delivers a timely challenge to reinvigorate our notions of civilised decency." -- The Independent (UK)

"Book clubs in search of the next Kite Runner need look no further than this astonishing, flawless novel... Cleave (Incendiary) effortlessly moves between alternating viewpoints with lucid, poignant prose and the occasional lighter note. A tension-filled dramatic ending and plenty of moral dilemmas add up to a satisfying, emotional read."-- Library Journal 

"Cleave is a nerves-of-steel storyteller of stealthy power, and this is a novel as resplendent and menacing as life itself."-- Booklist (starred review)

"The voice that speaks from the first page of Chris Cleave's Little Bee is one you might never have heard -- the voice of a smart, wary, heartsick immigrant scarred by the terrors of her past.... Read this urgent and wryly funny novel for its insights into simple humanity, the force that can disarm fear."-- O Magazine

"An ambitious and fearless gallop from the jungles of Africa via a shocking encounter on a Nigerian beach to the media offices of London and domesticity in leafy suburbia...Cleave immerses the reader in the worlds of his characters with an unshakable confidence." -- The Guardian (UK)

"Searingly eloquent." -- The Daily Mail (UK)

"...a psychologically charged story of grief, globalization and an unlikely friendship...Cleave's narrative pulses with portentous, nearly spectral energy..."-- Kirkus 


How can we make BookBundlz even better? Tell us what you think would make this website teh best for book clubs, reading groups and book lovers alike!
 
 
 
 Apple iTunes

 
 
CHRIS CLEAVE is a columnist for The Guardian newspaper in London. His first novel, Incendiary, was published in twenty countries; won the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award; was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize; won the United States Book-of-the-Month Club's First Fiction Award; and won the Prix Special du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007. His second novel, Little Bee, was shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Award for Best Novel. He lives in London with his French wife and two mischievous Anglo-French children.


Also, Don't Miss BB's
Author News Page!
Look for advice on everything from how to get your book published to promoted. We are looking to help you get the word out about your book!

 
 
Check out our...

of the Month


Gifts