Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

A Novel

Book - 2016
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Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, and his family. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Jende is desperate to keep his job and is soon forced to make an impossible choice.
Publisher: New York, New York : Random House, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780812998481
0812998480
Characteristics: 382 pages ; 24 cm.

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PEN/Faulkner award winner, 2017.


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susan_findlay
Apr 15, 2020

This book shouldn't have taken as long to read as it did, but Covid-19 happened, leaving me with no time for anything outside of work and family.

With that out of the way, I thought this book was a fantastic look into a lifestyle I've had very little exposure to. The characters were complex, interesting and well-developed. They felt real. As did the story. I appreciated all the cultural references and the wide variety of secondary characters as well as the core family. I suspect that I would have enjoyed it even more had I been able to focus on it over a shorter period of time.

Strongly recommend.

b
becker
Jul 18, 2019

This book is about a couple from Cameroon who are living in New York City and are actively trying to secure their papers so they can stay. It is also about an American couple who hire the African husband to be their chauffeur. The two families become involved somewhat in each other's lives and we see both the joys as well as the struggles that both couples face. What I loved about this book was how you get to see things from every side. The good and bad of both the rich American family as well as the immigrant family. I didn't think there were any obvious villains in this story. Each character had strong and weak qualities and they were all just doing the best they could in their own lives which were messy at times. I liked all of them, despite their flaws. This was a very readable and engaging story.

n
nalahblueberry5
Jun 22, 2019

I really enjoyed this easy to read, full of believeable characters and foreign culture novel. Good job. Would read her again, for sure

m
maureenxcho
Jun 13, 2019

26 copies. 12 available. American dream immigrant story. Cameroon culture.

c
cycloPhil
Feb 13, 2019

Good reflection on how quickly the American dream falls apart when immigrant see the real US. Nice dive into a bit of Cameroonian culture too.

j
joianng
Feb 12, 2019

i cried though this entire book and the ending just made me want to jump off a cliff. It was so captivating and emotion pulling and the ending just upset me. But that's how you know its a good book. I finished it in about 4 days. Real page turner.

l
Linyarai
Jan 19, 2019

I read this for the "A Character That Is An Immigrant" part of my 2019 reading challenge. I found it pretty slow, I enjoyed the first half of the story more than the second half. I was pretty disappointed in his decision in the end.

m
mayog
Oct 29, 2018

Imbolo Mbue holds up a mirror to the American Dream and raises all sorts of questions about its worth, questions worth pondering through the eyes of these two families.

Set at the advent of the Obama era, Mbue's story of Cameroonian immigrants and their interaction with a rich white American family explores all of the seams behind the facade of life in America, particularly life in New York City.

At the end, the novel hopeful, but not for any of the reasons that one typically imagines. Instead, Mbue's novel invites the reader to shift focus and gaze from what contemporary culture considers "success," and to examine with a critical eye the fractured existences upon which that success can be built.

LPL_KateG Jun 22, 2018

My book club enjoyed this and had a great discussion about immigration, the American Dream, class differences in various places, and what it means to live a satisfying life. This novel was compelling and had characters who were complex and interesting. I would highly recommend this for a book club!

m
MyTake
May 23, 2018

I loved the pace, the plot twists, the references to another culture. It's impressive that this book is her first. I look forward to reading other books that she may write.

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ArapahoeMaryA Sep 27, 2017

Jalaluddin Rumi, the Sufi mystic. He’s the one who said, ‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.’ Which was his own way of saying, ‘Let’s not dwell too much on labeling things as right or wrong.

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