Little Bee by Chris Cleave

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

cover to Little Bee This quote evoked a thought that sparked an emotion that changed my mind.

I picked Little Bee as the first novel up for discussion in my newly formed book club. It was a book I'd never heard of by an author I wasn't familiar with but I was instantly attracted to it. Until Little Bee, I'd never been drawn to a book based solely on the cover design but I can appreciatively say that this book not only has massive curb appeal but is packed with the substance to back it up.

The story is told by two narrators, Little Bee being the stronger voice. Throughout the story, she is constantly searching for ways to kill herself in every situation she encounters. I naively thought this to be a weakness at first but I soon realized how it was a necessary means of survival for her. After hearing her sister's torture and eventual death at the hands of "the men" Little Bee vowed to maintain control of her own death. To choose when and how it would occur.

Little Bee is a fighter. Without complaint she reacts. She made decisions to ensure her own survival. And at the end, she takes a stand to protect the two people who saved her because she is finally free from the burden of saving herself.

I took a few days rest after reading this book to give my tears time to dry up. I impatiently await the next Chris Cleave release.