Home Bound: An Uprooted Daughter's Reflections on Belonging (Hardcover)

Home Bound: An Uprooted Daughter's Reflections on Belonging By Vanessa A. Bee Cover Image
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Description


"This moving book is both an act of defiance — a way to construct a home outside of borders — and a timely manifesto on the need for more equitable housing policy in America, weaving her scholarship in economic justice together with her firsthand experience of the many places she’s lived. “Home Bound” is not just a resonant personal history, but also a thoroughly researched investigation of home."
—Rajpreet Heir, The New York Times Book Review

"Readers of Home Bound will likely experience that pleasant rush of recognizing something personal in someone else’s reality, of answering, yes, home feels like this to me, too."
—Chicago Review of Books

"Bee’s lyrical, emotive prose takes readers through her life with an intimacy that draws and keeps them close. . . . [Home Bound will] appeal to a variety of reader, challenging singular beliefs of what it means to be a daughter, sister, lover, wife, lawyer, and mother."
—Library Journal, starred review


In this singular and intimate memoir of identity and discovery, Vanessa A. Bee explores the way we define “home” and “belonging” — from her birth in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to her adoption by her aunt and her aunt’s white French husband, to experiencing housing insecurity in Europe and her eventual immigration to the US. After her parents’ divorce, Vanessa traveled with her mother to Lyon and later to London, eventually settling in Reno, Nevada, as a teenager, right around the financial crisis and the collapse of the housing market. At twenty, still a practicing evangelical Christian and newly married, Vanessa applied to and was accepted by Harvard Law School, where she was one of the youngest members of her class. There, she forged a new belief system, divorced her husband, left the church, and, inspired by her tumultuous childhood, pursued a career in economic justice upon graduation.

Vanessa’s adoptive, multiracial, multilingual, multinational, and transcontinental upbringing has caused her to grapple for years with foundational questions such as: What is home? Is it the country we’re born in, the body we possess, or the name we were given and that identifies us? Is it the house we remember most fondly, the social status assigned to us, or the ideology we forge? What defines us and makes us uniquely who we are?

Organized unconventionally around her own dictionary-style definitions of the word “home,” Vanessa tackles these timeless questions thematically and unpacks the many layers that contribute to and condition our understanding of ourselves and of our place in the world.

About the Author


Vanessa A. Bee is a consumer protection lawyer and essayist. Born in Cameroon, she grew up in France, England, and the United States. Vanessa holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Nevada and a law degree from Harvard. Her writing has appeared in among others, Current Affairs, The Nation, Guernica, and n+1 where she received a “Notable Essays” mention in the The Best American Essays 2022. She lives in Washington, DC.

Praise For…


"This moving book is both an act of defiance — a way to construct a home outside of borders — and a timely manifesto on the need for more equitable housing policy in America, weaving her scholarship in economic justice together with her firsthand experience of the many places she’s lived. “Home Bound” is not just a resonant personal history, but also a thoroughly researched investigation of home."
—Rajpreet Heir, The New York Times Book Review

“[Bee’s] book interweaves this thread with more intimate explorations of her family lineages—but her insistence that a home is a right remains central. For Bee, a better world would be one in which everyone had not only adequate shelter, but the ability to shape their surroundings.”
—Jewish Currents

“A Harvard Law School graduate, she ultimately finds her own version of success and realizes that, no matter her given name or identity, she holds the power to rewrite her own definitions of home.”
Booklist

"Readers will find a remarkable clarity of structure and mind with which she embarks on her attempt to peel back the layers of identity..... This is the story of an ambitious and bright young woman doing her best to navigate a complicated transcontinental existence, a real-life bildungsroman....Thoughtful yet decisive, this memoir transmits the authentic texture of a person making her way through a difficult world."
Andreea Iulia Scridon, The Ploughshares Blog

"A meditative and captivating examination of the layers that make up a home... At times both wry and earnest, Bee’s memoir is a product of introspective scrutiny, reflecting both the deeply uncomfortable process of examining all the dark little corners of your life and the combination of maturity and self-respect it takes to tell your story with depth and nuance.... When Bee levels criticism at policies that create income inequality or questions how to forgive certain of her family members, she does so thoughtfully, fairly, and with unflinching honesty. And sometimes treating something fairly means recognizing when forgiveness cannot be on the table, at least for the moment."
—Erika Dirk, Chicago Review of Books

"This candid and compelling debut memoir examines identity, migration, status, tradition and family ties in intimate and evocative detail."
—Karla J. Strand, Ms. Magazine

"Interwoven throughout with Bee’s personal and multifaceted definitions of home, this richly tapestried memoir offers a unique perspective on identity as it restlessly probes the nature of belonging. An intimately incisive life story."
Kirkus Reviews

"Fans of Bee’s writing know her as a gifted, astute essayist on matters political and personal for Current Affairs and other outlets, but she is also a lawyer who has lived around the world in many different settings. Her debut, a memoir, explores these journeys through space, class, circumstance from babyhood in Cameroon, to life with her adoptive family in France, to life with her mother in London and then Nevada during the housing crisis, to Harvard Law school and a break with young marriage and evangelical Christianity. I cannot wait to read this."
—Lydia Kiesling, The Millions

"What emerges is a rich and enthralling story of finding oneself outside of the bounds of borders and beliefs. This offers radiant hope in the face of darkness."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Bee’s lyrical, emotive prose takes readers through her life with an intimacy that draws and keeps them close. . . . [Home Bound will] appeal to a variety of reader, challenging singular beliefs of what it means to be a daughter, sister, lover, wife, lawyer, and mother."
—Library Journal, starred review

“A hopeful, complicated, political, and, at times, devastating book. Vanessa resurrects stories from the deep crevices of her memory with ease, honesty, and a boundless capacity for empathy. Her preternatural talent for storytelling and her astute analysis have produced a book that manages to exceed the constraints of the memoir genre. I raced through the story, blown away by the depths of Vanessa's experience and her adeptness in recounting it. You have never read anything quite like Home Bound -- a remarkable, captivating story that I've already begun recommending to everyone.”
—Josie Duffy Rice, journalist, writer, and co-host of "What A Day"

“A remarkable portrayal of daughterhood, Home Bound will reshape and expand your definition of belonging. In exquisite, captivating prose, Vanessa A. Bee charts her journey within a sprawling yet tight-knit family across three continents. She is a deeply empathetic writer who weaves intimate details alongside profound insights, and often moved me to tears. Moments after turning the last page, I started reading all over again—a rare impulse reserved only for my favorite books.”
—Sanaë Lemoine, author of The Margot Affair

"Home Bound is a mesmerizing, globe-spanning story of forgiveness, resilience, and love. Vanessa A. Bee writes with vulnerability, honesty, and fierce intelligence about the intricacies of home, identity, and belonging. A wise and gripping debut."
—Rachel Khong, author of Goodbye, Vitamin

"By turns deft, sensitive, witty, defiant, and always intellectually rigorous. Bee’s incisive explorations and bold declarations of who she is (and who she thinks she is), invites us to embrace and wrestle with the multitudes that we all contain."
—Phuc Tran, author of Sigh, Gone


Product Details
ISBN: 9781662601330
ISBN-10: 1662601336
Publisher: Astra House
Publication Date: October 11th, 2022
Pages: 256
Language: English