Last night I had the strangest dream. As often is the case with dreams, many details are fuzzy, but I remember the big ideas. I was stung by a bee on my lip on a family trip with my parents ( I seemed to be teenaged). My lip swelled, I needed medication, but I was about to get on a bus to go somewhere without my family.
Where do these things come from?
Regardless of the origin or details, when I woke up I thought about books in which insect stings play a significant role.
First, there is A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith. A short classic, it tells the story of a friendship that is interrupted when one of the boys dies from a bee sting.
An allergy to stinging insects runs through the four books of Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle series. The first book opens with a prediction of Gansey’s death. We learn later of his allergy to wasps, which weaves itself through the four books
In Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything the main character, Madeline, is allergic to nearly everything and must live inside a carefully sealed environment.
Serious allergies are no joking matter. We had a boy with a severe peanut allergy last year and we needed to take precautions at every celebration. There are nut free tables in school cafeterias. I recall visiting a school several ago that had songs posted all over the halls, reminding staff and students that the school was citrus free due to a severe allergy.
This leads me to one of my favorite movies of 1976.
We certainly took it seriously as we swooned over John Travolta, but, looking at it 40 years later, it seems awfully melodramatic.