The Operation Awesome theme for the #atozchallenge 2021 is book reviews (even though we're a blog about the publication journey, not a book review blog-- the team loves to read!). I've selected books that I have been itching to read that corresponded with the letter.
This book is an excellent choice for adults. The story follows Cameroonian couple Neni and Jendi with their time in America working, going to school, and trying to stay in America. The narrative addresses themes of marriage, immigration, class, race, and the American Dream. The story demonstrates the values of family, love, and hope. The pacing is fantastic and fits well into the chapters.
I would recommend this book for adults who want to learn more about the American Dream and immigration. I will caution that there is some drug use and domestic violence. The book is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a story with Cameroonian protagonists. This is the first novel I have read by Mbue, and I am eager to read How Beautiful We Were. I am reading more diverse books as part of my journey of cultural humility. As a white woman, I am eager to continue my cultural humility journey and do the work of educating myself.
I finished the book. Jendi's and Neni’s struggles with parenthood, family, work, school, and immigration were engaging and intriguing. I anticipate reading more by Mbue, and I will happily follow Mbue's future work. One of my key factors for reading books is if I would recommend it to others, and if I would reread the book. I would do both for Behold the Dreamers, with high recommendations and I would definitely read it again.
The theme is captured by the following sentences: “Our people say no condition is permanent, Mr. Edwards. Good times must come to an end, just like bad times, whether we want it or not.”
Overall the novel was hard to put down and easy to read. I appreciated the Cameroonian protagonists as experienced in this book and learning about Cameroon and immigration in a way that I have not encountered before. I appreciate Mbue’s portrayal of Neni and Jendi and their story.
What books have you read with protagonists from a culture and country different from your own? What did you learn about the culture and country you read? What did you learn about your own culture and country?