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#FICTIONFRIDAY: "BEHOLD THE DREAMERS" BY IMBOLO MBUE.

#FICTIONFRIDAY: "BEHOLD THE DREAMERS" BY IMBOLO MBUE.

Book Review by Resident Bibliophile: Lynecia Burgess (@luvnecia).

The immigrant experience is central to, and certainly synonymous with the American one. The characters in Imbolo Mbue’s debut, “Behold the Dreamers”, travel a well-worn path of many (West African) immigrants before them.

Jende and Neni Jonga travel from Cameroon with their young son Liomi, in search of opportunity and fortune, only to encounter stark realities of American life, the biggest among them, the epic crash of Lehman Brothers bank and the financial crisis of 2008.

While driving a cab and struggling to make ends meet in NYC, Jende lands a job as the private chauffeur to Clark Edwards and his family, a wealthy executive at Lehman. With the opportunity to work for an important man, along with a healthy salary, the Jongas believe they are on their way to achieving longed for American prosperity -- represented by the wealth of the Upper East Side Edwards clan and the ascension of then Illinois senator, Barack Obama to the presidency. However, immigration problems loom, and the tenuous relationship that’s formed between Jende’s family and their monied employers (Neni is employed occasionally as a housekeeper) reveals the dark side of the American dream -- in home life and in the boardroom.

Mbue deftly contrasts the striving Jongas against the elite Edwards' and as a reader, it causes you to be protective. After all, we know how dire the financial crisis was. We know of the deception involved, the livelihoods lost and of the people who caused it. Furthermore, we know all about #richpeopleproblems, so you question, why do you want to be like these people?  

Though it's not their ethics or values the Jongas covet, it’s their lifestyles and material comforts. But in the case of the Edwards' American dream, ethics and values are inextricable from their lifestyle. That fact compounded with imminent immigration woes, the racial and class micro-aggressions they face, and the defeating stresses of American life, Mbue’s story begs the question of upward mobility -- is it worth it?

“Typical” immigrant values clash with ugly actualities for the Jongas, but both families are faced with the tough choices of choosing what matters when their dreams become nightmares.

The immigrant experience is central to, and certainly synonymous with the American one. The characters in Imbolo Mbue’s debut, “Behold the Dreamers”, travel a well-worn path of many (West African) immigrants before them. Jende and Neni Jonga travel from Cameroon with their young son Liomi, in search of opportunity and fortune, only to encounter stark realities of American life, the biggest among them, the epic crash of Lehman Brothers bank and the financial crisis of 2008.

While driving a cab and struggling to make ends meet in NYC, Jende lands a job as the private chauffeur to Clark Edwards and his family, a wealthy executive at Lehman. With the opportunity to work for an important man, along with a healthy salary, the Jongas believe they are on their way to achieving longed for American prosperity -- represented by the wealth of the Upper East Side Edwards clan and the ascension of then Illinois senator, Barack Obama to the presidency. However, immigration problems loom, and the tenuous relationship that’s formed between Jende’s family and their monied employers (Neni is employed occasionally as a housekeeper) reveals the dark side of the American dream -- in home life and in the boardroom.

Mbue deftly contrasts the striving Jongas against the elite Edwards' and as a reader, it causes you to be protective. After all, we know how dire the financial crisis was. We know of the deception involved the livelihoods lost, and of the people who caused it. Furthermore, we know all about #richpeopleproblems, so you question, why do you want to be like these people?  

Though it's not their ethics or values the Jongas covet, it’s their lifestyles and material comforts. But in the case of the Edwards' American dream, ethics and values are inextricable from their lifestyle. That fact compounded with imminent immigration woes, the racial and class micro-aggressions they face, and the defeating stresses of American life, Mbue’s story begs the question of upward mobility -- is it worth it?

“Typical” immigrant values clash with ugly actualities for the Jongas, but both families are faced with the tough choices of choosing what matters when their dreams become nightmares.

BEHOLD THE DREAMERS IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON AND ALL BOOKSTORES.

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"FAT PEOPLE DON'T DESERVE LOVE. THEY DON'T LOVE THEMSELVES".

"FAT PEOPLE DON'T DESERVE LOVE. THEY DON'T LOVE THEMSELVES".

FICTIONFRIDAY: A PLEASANT NIGHTMARE PT 3.

FICTIONFRIDAY: A PLEASANT NIGHTMARE PT 3.

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