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Questing for a Dream Kindle Edition
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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Top customer reviews
Pam D. Workman draws clear and vivid pictures in readers' minds with her measured, detailed, writing. She describes a precocious teenage girl, Nadie, learning both of her First Nations culture and of the now-dominant European culture at school, struggling at the same time to be a mother to her baby sister and a caretaker, in a joint home inhabited by adults beset by alcoholism and irresponsibility.
Finding little help from the elders of her community, or her close friend and schoolmate - a boy who prefers natural ways of living - who too suffers as she does from a lack of devoted mentors, Nadie faces an unbearable loss of the ghastly death of the one that gave her purpose and identity. Unable to overcome this tragedy, and troubled by the numbing, destructive ways her peers and elders cope with their personal and cultural loss, she runs away from home and its safety on a lonely, rather aimless journey.
Nadie faces untold suffering on this path...and though she does find empathy and compassion amidst selfishness and exploitation, both she, and those who attempt to help, realize that only Nadie herself can address the wounds within, with fuller comprehension of all that leads to such wounds, and rediscover her sense of purpose in ways that are fundamental to her life.
'Questing for a Dream' is easy to read, flows linearly and seamlessly, and gives a stark view of the realities of life for First Nations people in their world now dominated by another people and culture. A story of great loss and survival, there are instances in the narrative where a sensitive reader may dread what comes next...and instances where one may be overcome with emotion, as I was. The clash between the dominant and the oppressed cultures is clearly portrayed, and so are bridges of communication between the two through human sentiment and compassion. It is a book after my own heart, very similar to my own work, that I recommend to the young and the old alike without reservation. I am glad I picked this up on a promotion, and will look for more of Pam's work...
Questing for a Dream takes place on a Native American reservation with teenagers Nadie and her best friend Mouse as the main characters. Nadie is a kind, compassionate girl and Mouse is a spunky young man both looking for their place in the reservation as well as the rest of the world. Both teens have their own struggles, Nadie witnesses a terrible loss in her family. Her mother leaves shortly after and during her mourning she makes the terrible mistake of abusing substances which disappoints her grandfather. Mouse, on the other hand, struggles with being the youngest in the family. Always having his older siblings to look after him, Mouse isn’t used to having to do things on his own. It doesn’t help that his mother frequently falls into depression either.
We have the setup for one tragedy after another but P.D. does a wonderful job at highlighting the good in the lives of these teens. This story could have easily become dreadful and difficult to get through but I found it as intriguing as many of the action and fantasy books I’ve read.
My most favorite thing about this book is that it’s all about minority characters. We just don’t have enough of them in the literary realm, in my opinion. As I mentioned before, the story takes place on a Native reservation so I had a good look at life in another culture. I myself am part Native American, Lakota Sioux from my father’s side and Chickasaw from my mother’s to be exact. So I was pleasantly surprised to see characters that I could relate to. Reservations pepper the US but not many Americans get such a close look at their lifestyle and culture. I greatly appreciated that aspect of this book which deserves five-stars all on its own.
P.D. walks us through Nadie’s tragedy of losing a relative. I really can’t imagine going through such an event in my life but I think this author truly captures the importance of family and the toll a sudden death can have on it. Our characters are far from perfect in this story, they struggle at almost every turn but their reactions to the events and the way they handle themselves is very believable and realistic. Each character stays in line with their personalities and brings the proper emotion to each scene.
I thought the development of Mouse’s and Nadie’s characters was great. I liked Mouse a little more than Nadie but that’s because I’m a sucker for struggling teen boys lol. I thought his struggles and his journey to ‘manhood’ were well explained and excellently written. Mouse’s part in the book, particularly his desire to be seen as a man, is something that stems directly from his Native roots so for me it was more of a personal enjoyment.
Nadie’s desire to leave the reservation was something I struggled with as a reader. Being Native myself, I never got the chance to live on a reservation like this character so her entire ordeal tugged on the strings of my heart. P.D. did a wonderful job highlighting the ups and downs of a Native’s decision to leave the reservation. For people whose lives are so closely intertwined with their tribe, this decision isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not like moving out of mom’s and dad’s basement and finding your own apartment. It’s abandoning everything and everyone you know. Your family is left behind, your language, your food, your religion, your entire culture is wiped away. I think P.D. did an excellent job at bringing these struggles to light in a way any reader could understand and relate to—no matter their ethnicity or culture.
My hat goes off to P.D. Workman for bringing such an amazing story to the market with emotional detail and intriguing characters. I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone.
Most recent customer reviews
KNOW-- not now...
What I found absorbing, what caught me up unaware was the power of this writer to translate Native American experience without once falling into any subtle...Read more
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