Talk about Books
Talk about Books
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"Little Bee"

I’ve just finished Little Bee, and I’m not sure how to feel. So, let’s talk about it. Also: SPOILERS!

Illustration for article titled Little Bee
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The book was recommended to me by a friend whose primary reading tastes are in the young-adult realm. I expected this was going to be the same, and I really wasn’t looking forward to it. It is definitely not a young-adult book...

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The first chapter, written in Little Bee’s voice, is gripping, and it really hooked me. The descriptions of life in an immigration detention center were horrifying, and eye-opening. I really was moved by Little Bee’s narrative, which is pretty powerful. However, Sarah’s narrative really didn’t move me at all.

After finishing it, and sitting on it for a week or so, I find the book a bit problematic. It just doesn’t sit well for some reason. White upper class British guy writing the story of a Nigerian immigrant teenaged girl... especially in light of the ending. I couldn’t help feeling like Cleave used the trope of the Noble Savage when writing from Little Bee’s perspective, and the ending solidified that for me. She sacrifices herself to save the wealthy white lady. Really?

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Anyone else feel this way?

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