Keeping Little Bee Simple
I am so enjoying Little Bee. We are talking on-its-way-to-becoming-one-of-my-favorite-books enjoying. Part of what I love is how much Chris Cleave elected to leave to our imaginations. I'm not just talking about Little Bee's past (which, at least at the part I'm at, is murky at best). I'm also talking about the way the characters look, their emotions, and their surroundings. At the same time, Cleave provides enough detail to completely blow me away. Seriously, I know this sounds cheesy, but when I really like things, I can feel them sitting in my chest, and reading Little Bee is like having an inflating balloon on top of my breastbone.
Because of my ardent admiration for Little Bee, I am really nervous to discuss it in class. I am used to overanalyzing literature in English class--chewing up symbolism and word choice and character names until whatever we have read loses all meaning (sometimes a flower is JUST A FLOWER). As I have made clear in the past, I often feel like our classroom is the kingdom of overanalysis. We try to delve so deep into issues that we actually end up discussing...nothing. We get tripped up on word definitions, minute statistics, and the need to relate everything to gender. I am not reiterating this to blame anyone; I am guilty too. Rather, I am resharing it in the hope that we will take a different course with Little Bee. Some things are too beautiful to be overanalyzed. I want to discuss the novel, but let's please let Little Bee speak for itself.