Book Review: Little Bee by Chris Cleaves

Happy Hump Day Nerds! Wednesday leaves us two days away from Friday! HAZZUH! Since my extracurricular activities at work have been severely restricted, I’ve been doing more print book reading. It’s putting me behind on my book list, since I refuse to buy in print what I already have in e-format. It’s just not happening. However, I forgot how going into the bookstore and browsing the shelves, glancing at new titles and authors, as well as reading the blurbs on the back of the book without all the extra reviews and things on a website is so refreshing. No preconceptions, notions, or otherwise conditioned thoughts towards a book one way or the other. I read the blurb on the back and think, “Hmm this sounds interesting,” or “Nah, not really my thing.” If I’d been looking on line, I probably wouldn’t have found Little Bee by Chris Cleave. I’m realizing I tend to stick with my own genre, and maybe too heavily rely on reviews as opposed to forming my own opinion.

The moral of the story: Some people will love a book, some people will hate a book, but each of us are our own person and can only make the decision for ourselves. If I give a book a bad review, it doesn’t mean that someone else won’t like it. It just means it wasn’t suited to my tastes. Don’t forget to make your own opinions, and never let anyone speak for you.

All right, onto the review.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave was not something I planned on reading. It wasn’t a book or author I had ever heard of. The power of an artistically strong orange cover is what first grabbed my attention. Granted, I’m bias. Orange is my favorite color, but the silhouetted girl on the front, with a whited out woman as the eye, intrigued me along with the title. I flipped it over to read the read the blurb, and this marketing skill completely drew me in.

“We don’t want to tell you WHAT HAPPENS in this book.
It is a truly SPECIAL STORY and we don’t want to spoil it.
NEVERTHELESS, you need to know enough to buy it, so we’ll just say this:

This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again – the story starts there…

Once you read it, you’ll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens. The magic in how the story unfolds.”

– Chris Cleave

That was pretty damn clever. It hooked me. I wanted to read and learn the women’s story. It’s a great technique to draw readers in, giving them just a taste, but not really revealing anything. It works, and to stay true to the author’s wishes, I’m not going to reveal what happens in the story. What I will say, is that Little Bee is fantastically written. The author keeps a good pace, speeding things up when he needs to, and slowing them down to let the reader catch a breath at opportune times. Chris Cleave truly knew what he was doing. The characters are bold, sympathetic, and far from perfect. (I love flaws!) Chris Cleave is a British author, but it really doesn’t matter where you’re from. The message is more than clear, and it’s completely work the read. Put it on your book list, make time for this story. It’s worth it.

Chris Cleave was born in London and spent his early years in Cameroon. He studied experimental psychology at Balliol College, Oxford. His debut novel, INCENDIARY, won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and is now a feature film. His second novel, LITTLE BEE, is a New York Times #1 bestseller with over 2 million copies in print. GOLD is his third novel. He lives in London with his wife and three children. Chris Cleave enjoys dialogue with his readers and invites all comers to introduce themselves on Twitter; he can be found at or on his website at

Little Bee by Chris Cleave receives five stars from me, but remember, take the time to make your own opinions.


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