Dream Country

368p. Dutton. Sept. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735231672.
OrangeReviewStarGr 9 Up— The author's sophomore novel follows the disjointed immigration patterns experienced in one African family. Kollie Flomo is a young teen struggling to connect his American and Liberian identities. His apathetic performance in school and the bullying he experiences from his African American classmates exposes an explosive anger he can barely control. After a school skirmish leads to a public shaming of the family, Kollie's father sends him back to Liberia in an effort to reform him. Kollie's ancestor Togar's experience with immigration is completely involuntary. Slavers partnered with other Africans in a bid to supply plantations with free labor. His attempts to evade the slavers infecting his country result in a net loss of identity and family. Togar's great grandmother Yasmine is a free African American woman in slavery-riddled America. She decides to take a gamble on a repatriation scheme orchestrated by white men that promises a better life for her children. This story that highlights the inconsistencies between the beliefs a country projects to the world at large and the realities experienced by immigrants. The African and American characters in this story are hoodwinked multiple times by their adopted and birth countries. The disconnect between a dream fulfilled and a dream diminished by reality negatively impacts the characters' view of themselves and their place within their chosen countries. The importance of giving immigrants power to create their own story is wonderfully illustrated in this book.
VERDICT An excellent choice for both public and school libraries.

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