I have just finished reading a beautiful novel called Little Bee by Chris Cleaves. So beautiful! But I will tell you the plot to save you crying your eyes out as I did. Go ahead and read it if you want to read some excellent writing, but beware. So sad.

Little Bee is a girl about sixteen who lives in a village in Nigeria until the bad men come, hired honchos from the oil company. They burn down her village, killing everyone they see, but Little Bee and her sister escape into the jungle and run and hide. Meanwhile a British couple take an unfortunate holiday at a Nigerian beach. While strolling on the sand, they run across the sisters who beg them to take them to the resort to hide, but they are intercepted by more thugs. The scary men tell the husband Andrew that he can save the girls if he cuts off his middle finger. He refuses sniveling, but Sarah, his wife grabs the filthy machete and cuts off her own finger.

We just got more of the Warm Feelings Everyday Oil in!

 

The thugs drag both girls down the beach where they gang rape the sister before they cut her to pieces and throw the pieces into the sea. Little Bee is left to flee because of Sarah’s sacrifice, and hides out on a boat bound for England. Once there, she is thrown into a detention center where  she is locked in abysmal, dehumanizing conditions (inmates must apply in writing for each sanitary pad they require) for two years. By a fluke she is released, but without papers, and once again she must run for her life.

Beautiful kimono made of bamboo. Market of Stars.

Andrew never recovers from the brutality of Nigeria and commits suicide. With grit and determination, Little Bee manages to find Sarah and her little boy Charlie, and they take her in. She stays just a few days commenting with the innocence and love of Charlie, but inevitably she is found by the British police who deport her to certain death. Sarah and Charlie follow and try to save her, but cannot.

Newly arrived flowy linen pants from France

This book made me so sad, because even though it is a novel, the plight of refugees is with us. Our friend Becca is an immigration lawyer and she can break your heart with her stories. We in Western North Carolina are not overwhelmed with the problem, but I hear that larger cities can’t handle the numbers of refugees that arrive. I read recently that New York turned a derelict prison into refugee housing. I can’t see a solution to this huge issue, but like so many other current problems, I feel buried under anxiety and grief. 

Unisex size yoga pants from Australia

The final scene in the novel, just before the authorities capture Little Bee, she and Charlie are hiding and she encourages him to shed his Batman costume and she reveals her real name. Vulnerable and real,  Little Bee watches Chariie frolic on a beach with a group of African children oblivious to their differences, and she is filled with joy. If only life were that simple. 

Linen blouse with bat sleeves.