Little Bee- Three Connections

The book Little Bee tells the story of a young woman fleeing Nigeria after her family is murdered.  She seeks out a woman in the United States with whom she has had some previous contact. That woman’s husband has just committed suicide and she is in a crisis situation as she mourns and tries to single parent her little son. 

I’ve written before about making a text whether it is an artwork, a film, a book or a news story meaningful by establishing three connections -personal, another text and the world. Reading the gripping story in Little Bee by Chris Cleave it wasn’t hard to make those connections. The personal one might be that the book was a gift from my friend Meena. Meena was a colleague when I taught in Hong Kong and we were in a book club together for six years. Meena’s son and his family live in Winnipeg so she visits regularly and when we get together our conversations always include sharing our book recommendations. This time Meena brought me a copy of her latest find, Little Bee by Chris Cleave. So while I was reading it I was thinking of Meena and why she might have liked the book so much. What made it even more personal was that Meena’s little granddaughter had done artwork on some of the pages. One of the main characters in the book is a small boy about Meena’s granddaughter’s age so her art added another personal touch. The other text I thought of immediately was The Boat People by Sharon Bala because like Little Bee it tells the story of a new immigrant trying to gain refugee status fearful they will be sent back to their own country where they are sure to face imprisonment or death. I had recommended The Boat People to Meena on a previous visit and her book club had read it and loved it. 

The connection to our world was easy to make even though Little Bee was published over a decade ago.  In fact in 2008 when Little Bee hit the book stores there were only 42 million refugees in the world.  Now there are 66 million.  That makes this story of a young desperate woman seeking asylum even more relevant than it was when the book was written. 

I’d be curious to hear about your three connections if you decide to read the book. 

Other posts……….

Finding the Three Connections

Hong Kong Guests

The Boat People


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