Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Out Today: Behold the Dreamers

Imbolo Mbue's novel nearly broke my heart at times.  Behold the Dreamers is a wonderful novel about one immigrant family's experience. 

Jende Jonga is a Cammeronian immigrant seeking a better life in America.  Through a friend he secures a job as a chauffeur for a wealthy man, Clark Edwards, who has made his fortune at Lehman Brothers.

The Edwards seem to have it all: a beautiful family, large homes, and few worries.  Except that it is 2007 and the financial crisis is about to happen.  

Jende's wife, Neni, also begins working for Mrs. Edwards, and the Jongas are making progress in America, finally able to plan for their future. 

But as they hope to raise their family in America, Jende's citizenship is causing them problems, and he continues to receive mail sending him to court, and the threat of being sent back to Cameroon hangs over his head.  

These two families struggle in different ways, but Behold the Dreamers certainly proves that money cannot buy happiness and that despite wealth everyone has their own challenges.  It is also a realistic portrayal of the immigrant experience and the way in which our system does not work for everyone.

Mbue's novel is beautiful and sad and hopeful all at the same time.  It is a must read.

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