Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, August 7, 2017

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

How I Heard About It:  I had seen this book in a local bookstore, but didn't give it much thought.  Then I saw that Oprah announced it as her summer book club selection.  There have been some Oprah picks that I've truly enjoyed and some I didn't like at all.  I was in the market for a novel published for adults so I decided to give it a shot.  

What It Is About:  The story of two couples.  One rich from America.  One poor from Cameroon.  One living the American dream.  One striving toward that dream.  Employer/Employee.  Conflicts between the two couples and conflict within each.  Jende and his wife Neni are immigrants to New York.  They want to make the best life possible.  When Jende obtains a job for Clark Edwards as his driver, he knows his life has taken a turn for the better.  After Neni is hired by Clark's wife, they have hit the "jackpot".  Jende and Neni believe the Clarks have it all.  They strive to gain what they have.  But the closer they get to the Clarks, the more they realize this couple is struggling.  They become conflicted on their new life in America and the one they left behind in Africa.  

What I Thought Of It:  As far as Oprah picks that I've read, I would say this one falls right in the middle.  I didn't love it as much as some, but I liked it much more than others.  The story was fascinating.  I was interested in the journey that Jende and Neni took from their home in Africa to begin a new life in America.  The author did a wonderful job of describing how hard it is for immigrants to make a go of it in a new country.  The four main characters were complex, complicated, and fascinating.  They each stood alone as individuals in the story, but together they created quite a mix of turmoil and conflict.  The writing was spot on and the story flowed from page to page and chapter to chapter.  

Who Should Read It:  This is a novel for the adult reader that enjoys a character driven story.  As the reader, you get a close look at Jende, Neni, and the Clarks.  If you have read other Oprah "picks", I would suggest this one as it is a strong story with a few surprises along the way.  Happy Reading!  

Rating:  4 STARS out of 5 Stars

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