Skip to main content
PBS logo
Want fewer ads?

Search - Little Bee (aka The Other Hand)

Little Bee (aka The Other Hand)
Little Bee - aka The Other Hand
Author: Chris Cleave
Worlds collide when Little Bee, a Nigerian girl orphaned by violence, meets Sarah, a dissatisfied British professional away on holiday.  The story is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn't. And it's what happens afterwards that is most important. A mixture of tragedy an...  more »
Info icon
The Market's bargain prices are even better for Paperbackswap club members!
Retail Price: $15.99
Buy New (Paperback): $12.79 (save 20%) or
Become a PBS member and pay $8.89+1 PBS book credit Help icon(save 44%)
ISBN-13: 9781416589648
ISBN-10: 1416589643
Publication Date: 2/2/2010
Pages: 271
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 843 ratings
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Gr8Smokies avatar reviewed Little Bee (aka The Other Hand) on + 98 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 36
I read the blurb on the back of the book, and I expected some transcendent event that "unfolded" the "magic of the story".

Not so much. The book was an overwrought, overly introspective examination of Africa and the global response to the problems there.

The story centers around a character named Little Bee, who is from Nigeria. She and her sister are caught in a horrific series of events on a beach that change the trajectory of their lives. Also on the beach that day is a British couple trying to save their marriage. Each person is changed by the goings on at the beach and the rest of the story consists of each character dealing with that horrific event.

There are some memorable quotes in the book and some insightful internal dialogue from the characters, but I waited in vain for magic that never came. About 2/3 of the way through, I was ready to leave these characters behind. It was not a horrible book, but not an excellent one either.

If you would like to read an excellent book about Africa, go get "What is the What".
BewitchedByBooks avatar reviewed Little Bee (aka The Other Hand) on
Helpful Score: 35
This book is being pushed EVERYWHERE. Amazon, Borders, etc, etc. So I picked it up. Was immediately suspicious of the "secretive non-plot blurb" on the back and when my gut rang it's warning bell, I should have heeded it.

This book was a train wreck that I just couldn't not look away from. It was sad, demoralizing, horrific and depressing. I kept waiting for the tide to turn and for things to start to lighten. I pushed through because I felt I needed to be reminded of the atrocities that happen all around us, all the time.

As a piece of literature it was clunky and stilted and several parts unbelievable (and I'm not talking about the atrocities...I'm talking about the "normal" life happenings).

If you enjoy books that are about social injustices, death and globalization then by all means, pick this one up. If that's not your cup of tea, stay far, far away from Little Bee.
reviewed Little Bee (aka The Other Hand) on
Helpful Score: 27
Many of the characters in this book annoyed me: Charlie and his pitiful speech patterns, Lawrence's flatness, and Sarah for being that uber-annoying my-son-can-do-no-wrong mommy on the playground who goes around being a victim in life. Little Bee was the best character, and there were some surprises to her persona.

Okay, so you learn in creative writing class about adding some foreshadowing, but there should be a limit. You shouldn't allude to something a million times before you actually tell about it, or you risk having your readers fill in the blanks and become bored. That's what this book did for me about the incident in Nigeria. Of course, we all realized what had happened to Sarah and Little Bee before it was revealed halfway through the book.

The book jacket promises some kind of magical feeling will come over you when you read it and that you'll generally become a better person. I guess that happened when I wrapped it up and sent it to another reader!
Claudielou avatar reviewed Little Bee (aka The Other Hand) on + 77 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
If you're just feeling much too chipper, this is the book for you. This book tells the tale of horrific fear torture in Nigeria, and the self-centered lives of the young elite in London. Every single man in the book is evil, and there is no redemption for a young Nigerian girl who escapes to London. The cover blurb promises something of a happy ending, but it isn't to be found unless you call one child sacrificing herself for another, "happy". If something good starts to happen for this poor girl, you can bet that the next page will contain another horror for her. This is a very depressing book. Be sure to take your anti-depressant before reading.
Bernelli avatar reviewed Little Bee (aka The Other Hand) on + 266 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
A fictitious story woven around real events. This story personalizes the problems small villages in Africa are experiencing because they are located overtop of valuable oil resources. Rather than seeing the problem from 10,000 feet, the story is brought up close and personal through Little Bee's horrifying experience and her desperate search for hope. Good story - I could not put it down.
Read All 107 Book Reviews of "Little Bee aka The Other Hand"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

danelleb avatar reviewed Little Bee (aka The Other Hand) on + 19 more book reviews
What's with the back cover? All mysterious and such?
"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 will just say this:

This is the story of two women...(cont'd)

For all the mysteriousness on the back cover and the pages upon pages of high praise contained in my edition, I have to say I was prepared to be "blown away" (as The Washington Post promises on the front cover). But I wasn't.

Little Bee has fled her home country of Nigeria after first witnessing some horrific acts and then eluding capture and death. To escape what is surely to be her fate, she decides to be a stowaway on a cargo ship and winds up in the UK. As the book begins, she has just been released from a UK immigration detention center. Alone in a foreign country with only the clothes on her back, Little Bee seeks out the one English person she knows: Sarah, a mother and magazine editor who had an unusual encounter with Little Bee on a beach in Nigeria while on a holiday with her husband, Andrew.

The author's main focus in this book is the immigration status of refugees and the deplorable treatment they receive at these detention centers. Though the book isn't really a tirade versus the treatment of the refugees and the bureaucracy that encourages it, it does open the door for it to be investigated, discussed, etc. And that, in itself, is one of the great things about this book and one of the reasons why you should read it. (I mean, I had no idea this existed! And it happens in the UK?! I guess for once I am the egocentric American, as I thought We had cornered the market on the "this-is-mine-and-I-must-protect-it-from-the-likes-of-you" attitude.)

The book has two narrators: Little Bee and Sarah. And though the book's subject matter is important and should be read, I felt it fell flat - more so in Sarah's chapters than in Little Bee's. Little Bee's chapters and her plight as a refugee - not having anyone and not belonging anywhere, were more compelling. It's not a bad book, but it's not really as great as the four pages of praise would lead you to believe.
reviewed Little Bee (aka The Other Hand) on + 9 more book reviews
the prose was a bit hard to follow in her broken way of talking, but an interesting story with a cliff hanger/make your own ending. It's hard to describe.
pbspam avatar reviewed Little Bee (aka The Other Hand) on + 12 more book reviews
The reviews on 'Little Bee' have been very mixed, as were reviews today when discussed at Book Club. Personally, I expected so much more...but was sadly disappointed. Discussion questions asked, 'What will you do with this knowledge?', and that would be my question to the author. Knowing what you know, having the forum you have, what will you...what have you done with this knowledge?


Want fewer ads?