Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

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4/5 stars

This book! Where do I start? I had so many thoughts reading this book. The writing was beautiful and descriptive. The book is full of Cameroon culture. I loved that! The characters are…so real. You will both love and hate all four of the main characters in this book. Each of them showed a side that made them amazing, wonderful people and each of them showed a side that made you think they were crazy and not someone you’d want to know. Ultimately, I think every reader of this book will take away something different. There are many points of views and many conclusions to be made from this book. One thing that stuck with me upon finishing this book was how the selfish decision of one person, can affect the lives of so many other people. How being entitled leads to being selfish and careless with your decisions, and how these decisions can literally destroy a person’s life. Another thought – how one person’s reason for happiness and joy can be another person’s reason for sadness and desperation.

Being born in America, we take so much for granted. Reading this book will make you realize this. This country is far from perfect, but we have so many rights simply by being born here that other people come to this country to get. Hard workers, full of integrity, and full of innocence, they believe that this country will provide them with happiness. For many it does, and others it does not. This book will allow you to see America from an immigrant’s point of view. On the flip side, you will also see how the “top 1%” live, families from Wall Street. Husbands who work so much their kids never see them. Wives who think having to fly coach would be just awful. What happens when the economy collapses and things change? The vast difference between these two families in the book will highlight two different ways people in this country live, and how their lives come together and affect each others. We also take for granted how fortunate most women are in this country. We have not been raised to cater to our husband’s every need and follow him through his whims and fancies (I’m trying not to spoil anything!). I can’t elaborate any more on this without giving anything away… so difficult!

Overall, this was a wonderful book. As I said above, the writing is superb and it would make a great book club book. I feel the book is particularly good considering the anti-immigrant position many Americans feel right now. Perhaps reading this book would open their minds and help them to see that immigrants are real people, hard-working, decent people who only want to raise their families the best they can! I almost wish there would be a sequel to find out what happens years later! I feel like these characters are friends of mine and I don’t want to say goodbye to them!

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