Thursday, November 7, 2019

Dream Country by Shannon Gibney - OPTIONAL

Dream Country by Shannon Gibney, 368 pgs. Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2018. $18.

Language: R (100+, 47 ‘f’, 18 ‘n’); Mature Content: R (racial slurs, homophobic slurs, drugs); Violence: R (military brutality, assault, rape)



Five generations of one family will search across centuries and continents in an attempt to find deliverance. Different members of the family must come to grips with oppression, slavery, and violence as they reach toward freedom that could ultimately prove to be elusive.

This is an ambitious book that takes on a great deal of history and attempts to communicate it through the stories of five members of the same family. Confusion will be predominant for the reader as the stories are not told chronologically and provide little background to the complex situations of each protagonist. The brief summary of Liberian history that is inserted at the end of the book would be better placed at the beginning or instead woven into the stories to make them resonate more strongly. The relatability of the main characters and the substance of their stories is uneven throughout the book and as none of the stories have any real resolution, readers will find themselves at times equal parts bored and unsatisfied. The stories being told are important and need to be shared; however, the author should have taken more care in how those tales were written.

Reviewer: AEB

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