I have got to be honest. This book sat on my shelf for at least 4 years. Published in 2008 it was a New York Times best seller. I finally picked it up and for sure the topic was so heavy that I had to put it down a few times and pick up some lighter reading.
This story starts in the UK with some girls being released from an immigration detention center. The story centers around Little Bee, a 16 year old Nigeria girl was has been in the center for two years. The only contact she has in the UK is the name and number of a man Andrew that she met along with his wife Sarah on the beach of Nigeria a tad over two years earlier.
I never give away the story in my review and this one will be no different.
Needless to say, Little Bee arrives on Andrew's and Sarah's door step and the story unfolds. It is told in the voices of Sarah and Little Bee alternating chapters. I love this format because it gives voice to both of these women. For sure this is a powerful story line! Cleave's creativity is brilliant.
Google a topic. From this book, I learned that I knew nothing about Nigeria Oil; NOTHING. I even called my good friend Keith who works in international politics to get a briefing.
The oil in the "Delta" of Nigeria is some of the best in the world. It requires less processing, I learned then other oils. I also learned that the continent of Africa Imports about half of their oil to the United States. SHUT UP! And someone got us thinking that the Mid-East is the major source of our oil. Just think Royal Dutch Shell spent $383 million to protect it's staff and the oil in 2007-2009 with over a total of $1 billion going to security. I wonder how many people who could have been feed and how much infrastructure could have been built with $1 billion.
It also gives us a glimpse into the UK culture and the detention centers that store illegal immigrants looking for a better life. And to think that we in the US think that we are the only one's with immigration issues. It made me wonder about the conditions of detention centers in the U. S. See, this book made me think. It made me cry and it made me laugh.
"We must see all scars as beauty... Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived."
I think Little Bee by Chris Cleave is worth the read. Its great to read international books for it gives us insight on the lives outside of the United States. I gave it five stars on Good Reads.
Post Script: If you love to read you should consider joining Good Reads. It's a great place to share and learn about books.... And if you have read my book, The Politics of Respectability. will you please join, rate and review my book on Good Reads. Here is the link to my Good Reads Page.