Tuesday, November 1, 2016

When the American Dream is an Illusion

Recently, I read Imbolo Mbue's Behold the Dreamers, a riveting page-turner that tells the tale of African immigrants in America. So moved was I by the story that it compelled me to do what I've never done before: write a book review.

Imbolo Mbue’s impressive debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, is one of those books that truly lives up to its hype. It’s a superbly written, evocative and a riveting read that centres on the illusion of the American dream, a term I’ll use lightly in this piece since the ideals of freedom, equality and financial independence are not inherently American but universal.

The story unfolds through the eyes of the protagonist, Jende Jonga, the pragmatic and good-natured Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, New York, and his smart, determined wife, Neni, detailing how their lives become entwined with that of a wealthy white American family after Jende is employed to chauffeur a Lehman Brothers executive. Both Jende and Neni are enamoured with the idea of the American dream and set about doing what they can to achieve it, while fervently hoping that Jende’s application for asylum is accepted. You can read the rest here.