Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Hmmm...What to say about Little Bee? This is such a powerful novel about a young Nigerian girl whose entire family, entire village, is murdered by the oil company who has discovered the countries biggest national resource right under their village. The story starts out with Little Bee in a refugee detention center in Britain where she has been held for two years after coming over to Britain hidden on a ship. A slip of the keyboard, (and a favor granted to one of the office men), has four girls being released into the countryside outside of London with no papers and left to get by on their own. If caught, they will all be sent back to their respective countries, where it has been deemed they are not in danger. Of course, the people who decided these countries are safe are Britain's Home Office bureaucrats who have not lived through the terror of your family and neighbors being destroyed and who are not witness' to such horror. After being released, Little Bee sets out to find the only people in the UK that she has any connection with. Andrew and Sarah were Englishman that just happened to take a vacation to Nigeria and happened to be where they shouldn't have been; on the same beach where Little Bee and her older sister were running and hiding from the men who murdered their family. Worlds collided as the men caught up with them moments after they revealed themselves to the Britt's on the beach.
I'm not going to tell you what happens next as it would be a big spoiler if you haven't read this novel. I will tell you that it is a novel that is written so well, that it truly evokes that thoughts and feelings of this young girl who has lived through such horror. It opens your eyes to the fact that these terrible things that happen in our world are not just a small story on the evening news, but rather a large, horrible story in the lives of so many and that these terrible things really do happen all of the time in our world. The story is powerful and moving but also written with humor that will make you laugh out loud from time to time. I am always amazed when a male author can write so well from the voice of a woman and Chris Cleave did it wonderfully. I am in love with Little Bee.