Little Bee

Our problem is that you only have your own story. One story makes you weak. But as soon as we have one hundred stories, you will be strong. If we can show that what happened to your village happened to a hundred villages, then the power is on our side. We need to collect the stories of people who’ve been through the same things as you. We need to make it undeniable. Then we can send the stories to a lawyer and we’ll let the authorities know, if anything happens to you, those stories will go straight to the media. Do you see? I think that was what Andrew hoped to do with his book. It was his way of saving girls like you.” (p. 253)

There is nothing like a book such as this to point out to me my incredible naivety. To make me feel in profound discomfort that I am a white girl in a privileged country who knows nothing of rape and torture and fear like Little Bee did in Nigeria. I’m so comfortable in my ignorance, in fact, that I would never even choose Nigeria as a vacation destination, like Sarah did when the free tickets fell into her lap.

She takes her husband there, on a trip meant to restore their marriage, and during the course of their vacation their lives are irrevocably changed. Missing is Sarah’s middle finger, missing is any freedom from guilt; so incredibly changed is Andrew that he cannot cope with the events they experienced on the beach even when he returns to his home in London.

This is a story of courage and strength, of worlds colliding when two women decide that they will help each other learn to survive, learn to live, no matter what the cost. Which is greater than I could ever imagine.