Book Review

BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue

Rating: 4.5 / 5

I picked up BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue as a bookstore recommended book. It is one that I received a lot of positive feedback about when I posted that I added it to my shelves so I was excited to fit it into my TBR this summer!

BEHOLD THE DREAMERS follows Jende Jonga, an immigrant to the US from Cameroon making a life in Harlem along with his wife and son. With his immigration status in flux, he is happy to land an excellent job working for Clark Edwards, a wealthy man who is a senior employee of Lehman Brothers. Clark is a basically good employer for Jende, demanding a lot but also showing interest in Jende’s life. Jende’s wife Neni is hired by Clarks’ wife for temporary work as well.

Jende and Neni’s look behind the curtain at the life of wealth and privledge is eye opening. While they dream of making New York their permanent home and living the American dream, they see that those who are living that dream aren’t all happy. When Lehman Brothers collapses, things get even more tumultuous and their dreams feel even more out of reach.

I though this novel was beautifully written. Jende has high hopes for life in the United States and bringing his wife and son with him to make their new homes. They seem to be making their way toward the American dream by landing good jobs and advancing their status in the world. Still, the difficulties of making American their permanent home linger behind the scenes.

The relationship between Jende and Clark is an interesting one. In so many ways they are entirely different from the way the interact with their families to their social status. Jende’s access to the inner workings of Clark’s life and his family forge a bond, however, and Clark seems generally interested in why Jende has come to America and how life differs from his world back home.

This is a book I would highly recommend for a different story about the immigrant experience in America!

Reading Challenge Categories:

#AroundtheYearin52Books – a book with a geometric pattern on the cover

2 thoughts on “BEHOLD THE DREAMERS by Imbolo Mbue”

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