Behold the Dreamers

Behold the Dreamers

A Novel

Book - 2016
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At the intersection of "Americanah" and "The Help" comes a riveting debut novel about two marriages - one immigrant and working class, the other from the top 1% - both chasing their version of the American Dream. In the fall of 2007, Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Their situation only improves when Jende's wife Neni is hired as household help. But in the course of their work, Jende and Neni begin to witness infidelities, skirmishes, and family secrets. Then, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, a tragedy changes all four lives forever, and the Jongas must decide whether to continue fighting to stay in a recession-ravaged America or give up and return home to Cameroon.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780812998481
Branch Call Number: FIC/MBUE
Characteristics: 382 pages ; 25 cm


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Apr 20, 2021

This book, about a family of Cameroonian immigrants who live in New York at the beginning of the 2008 recession, was thought-provoking. Sometimes the “American Dream” is just too hard or it’s not all that legends make it out to be. Beautifully narrated.

Dec 29, 2020

This book is great, with some very emotional parts that make you really contemplate the situation. Personally, I was able to relate to some parts of the story and really enjoyed the relatability of it. Also, I liked the ending even though it was very unexpected and very unlike the main character. The dram between the two main families was very gravitating, personally. Pretty easy read without having to reread over and over to understand. Definitely recommend.

Dec 16, 2020

an amazing and very true dialogue of what it means to be an immigrant and surviving in america for the first time. this story is heartbreaking but valiant while connecting two totally different families through themes of similarity. mbue truly puts america's freedoms, positives, and negatives into perspective and shows everyone what it means for immigrants and their families to be living here. a great raw read if you're into that.

Dec 11, 2020

Enjoyable fiction that thoughtfully touches on issues of race/class/gender. Characters and themes are morally complex. The ending is not what I was expecting or wanting, but that's life... Plus, this is Jende and Neni's story and they remain optimistic.

Sep 15, 2020

This is one of the best audiobooks I've ever listened to (thanks for the rec, Cale!). Prentice Onayemi is an extraordinarily talented narrator, and I will seek out his other audiobook projects. This book, its characters, and their plights reminded me of the movie Parasite. I'm so very looking forward to Imbolo Mbue's upcoming release, How Beautiful We Were.

Aug 23, 2020

What a great book! Easy to read, captivating and very real. Would particularly speak to anyone who is an immigrant. Thought provoking about the parallelism between the economic crisis of 2008 and the current Covid-19 one.

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.

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.

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

Jun 13, 2019

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

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Dec 30, 2020

nain8 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over


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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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