“People don’t want to open their eyes and see the Truth because the illusion suits them.”
Published: March 15th, 2016
Rate: 4 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.
However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.
When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.
“He knew bad news could come even on the happiest of days.”
Behold the Dreamers is a stunning debut book that I thoroughly enjoyed and loved. Imbolo Mbue’s writing is so beautiful and easy to read that I didn’t want to put the book down. The book follows two families experiences during the 2008 financial crisis: an immigrant family from Cameroon, the Jonga Family, and their wealthy employers, the Edward family. Imbolo Mbue brings out trying to live the American Dream and the result of this so well I was left in awe.
My favourite thing in this book is the great dialogue and character interaction. There’s a Neni and Cindy scene that had me at the edge of my seat. How far would you go for your family? That seemed to be the one question being asked throughout the book with justifications for the actions of the characters.
Behold the Dreamers explores race, identity and life as an immigrant in a place where status is everything. I really liked it and definitely recommend.
Have you read Behold The Dreamers? What did you think about it?