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They do not One continent is exchanged for another but still the spiral does not become a circle No spirals ise "And They Fall Sometimes It " they fall Sometimes it hard to know which Dream Country is not just a story of a family s history Or of a culture or a country It is a vivid portrayal of what acism looks like feels like but profoundly how it stems How it can grow from one group to another hate breeding hate in new ways with new generations wreaking pain and heartache on the next This is a heartbreaking
real story One helps understand not only the pain of our past but the difficulties in our presentThis incredible journey forces the eader to examine some of the lesser known truths of history Dream Country is a fictional canvas of fact where historical fact is woven into the story Knowing that there is legitimate history written into these characters and their struggles makes the atrocities we encounter impossible to ignore This isn t a fictionalized story where once you close the cover the story leaves the eader Instead this will awaken the need to know to think to understand The truth is fluid and fungible and untrustworthy and won t abide by any one telling And sometimes in inventing the truth we can discover something deeper We can find our place in the story Dream Country is a beautifully written story that is compelling and stunning It is deep and profound and will open a dialogue for young eaders everywhere This book is perfect to help teens who perhaps have faced their own struggles with identity and fitting in With wanting to understand their own generational histories and where these lives of the past fit in with their futureThis book is perfect for book clubs classrooms and everything in between There is some language along with difficult subject matter such as colonization slavery violence and eferences to ape though outside of language there aren t any graphic descriptions I would ecommend to mature young adult eaders or at least with a parent or teacher available to help guide the eader through deeper discovery of these difficult themes and subjectsIn short this book is stunning It is a shining example of why we need diverse books with diverse characters along with own voices authors This is a complex story bringing to light pieces of our own history that are lesser known It is valuable informative and incredibly incredibly important Highly highly ecommendThank you to Penguin Young Readers for including me on this incredible tour and for sending me a copy for eview This book will be our One Read in the fall and there is so much to discuss Racism slavery white supremacy the immigrant experience families generational epercussions and on and onAnd I am also excited our students will learn about the history of Liberia I feel so stupid that I knew nothing about how ex slaves from America horribly treated indigenous populations in Liberia and transformed that country Are we all doomed to exert power and damage over those we deem less than even if it s happened to us It s what we know and we e all continually doing itI m still thinking about these things and I m not articulating it all that well but again so much to think about and discuss with this book A great choice for a One Read Instagram Twitter Facebook PinterestI ve said many times in my eviews that the YA genre needs to start taking isks For about a decade YA has been snowballing towards safe and stale Young adults are young adults and I personally think as a eader and a writer that we need to stop acting like teens and adults in their early twenties need to be protected from difficult subjects or explicit content as 1 they e going to go ahead and find it anyway if they eally want to ead it so you might as well to try and do it well and for the intended audience and 2 it S Not Like Teens not like teens t experiencing things like sex swearing alcohol and bigotryracism in their everyday livesSo before I even get into the content of DREAM COUNTRY I want to say that I appreciate that the author didn t try to dumb down the difficult subjects in her book which was to my surprise for young adults There is a lot of graphic content everything from genocide to ape to acism colorism privilege explicit language multiple uses of the N word especially but also the C word as well as white supremacy and slaveryDREAM COUNTRY is a multi generational family saga centering around a Liberian family The first narrator Kollie is a high school stud. To eform school the story shifts Like Kollie eaders travel back to Liberia but also back in time to the early twentieth century and the point of view of Togar Somah an eighteen year old indigenous Liberian on the un from government militias that would force him to work the plantations of the Congo people descendants of the African American slaves who colonized Liberia almost a century earlier When Togar's section draws to a shocking close the novel jumps again back to America in 1827 to the children of Yasmine Wright who leave a Virginia plantation Ent in the early noughties who struggles with not being black enough to fit in with the American black students but also very much conscious of being black enough to fit in with the American black students but also very much conscious of acism he faces as a man of color and the xenophobia he faces as an immigrant The second narrator is Togar which takes place in the late 1920s Togar is trying to escape the militant slavers who are forcing Liberians to work the plantations owned by ex slaves who colonized Liberia in the 1800s Yasmine is one of those ex slaves who thinks that Liberia will be a new chance for her and her children but she is taken aback by the sickness poor health conditions and the ural conditionsBut Real Story One
Then There S Ujay Evelyn Whosethere s Ujay and Evelyn whose is set in the 1980s during the Liberian Civil war The story ends full circle with Angel Kollie s younger sister who is now an adult in the 2010sAs I said this book is written the way it would be for any adult Gibney does not balk at the idea of communicating the horrors of slavery acism and war to kids And eally I think most kids don t have any idea how horrific such events are because freuently they are sugar coated or glorified in children s fiction Reading this book makes you fully cognizant of the stakes It actually eminded me a lot of Yaa Gyasi s HOMEGOING although between you and me I thought HOMEGOING was a better book because each character was fleshed out and their story fully developedThat actually brings me to my biggest complaint with DREAM COUNTRY it felt like an unfinished book The characters stories didn t eally close in a satisfying way and in my opinion the most interesting POVs ended way too soon and the less interesting POVs dragged on forever I would have liked to learn about Togar or see what Kollie s experience was like when his parents sent him to Liberia Angel s POV felt like an afterthought and Ujay s was the only historical POV that actually provided new perspective on his descendants whereas the others eally didn t in my opinionDREAM COUNTRY isn t a bad book by any means and it does some pretty amazing things but there were also many points where I found myself bored by the subject matter and given the nature of the subject matter that should not be the case I m going to donate my copy to a high school now that I ve done with it Hopefully the kids will enjoy it than I did 3 stars Great for a different perspective of the African experience in America it does explore a little know side of history the colonization of Liberia by Freed African American who left the USA in search of their ancestral home and how they ended up behaving in a way that eflected the eality that they suffered at the hand of the white plantations owners towards the native population of Liberia Very interesting topic for anyone interested in a complex story of the African American experience and the African experience in America main character is Liberian This is an incredible story of a family impacted by the African diaspora The book is told in a non linear fashion as seen through the eyes of one of the contemporary members of the family We begin in today s Minneapolis area with a boy named Kollie whose parents send him back to the land from where he was a efugee Liberia From there we travel back to family that grew up in Liberia then back even further to family which had been indentured servants in the US prior to the Civil War their freedom came when they left the US and headed back to Liberia We move then to the parents of Kollie and what they endured in LiberiaWhat s emarkable about this book aside from the heartache and hope seen through the characters is the history that we never learn about Gibney s extraordinary esearch powerful author s note explain how when black freed people went back to Liberia they brought with them the same tools used against them to harm enslave and colonize the native Liberians This book shows that through this familyI couldn t stop thinking about pairing this book with Homegoing Like with Gyasi s book some characters will esonate than others for eaders I found Kollie and Angel s stories especially her s despite being the smallest part done purposefully to be the most compelling Note that some of the characters are a bit beyond their teen years and in many ways this book ead to me as less YA and adult That doesn t mean YA eaders won t love it but ather it d be an awesome and easy sell to adult eaders too Powerful moving vital and one that is going to mean a LOT to a lot of eaders. Ith their mother for Liberia where they're promised freedom and a chance at self determination by the American Colonization Society The Wrights begin their section by fleeing the whip and by its close they are then ones who wield it With each new section the novel uncovers fresh hope and esonating heartbreak all based on historical factIn Dream Country Shannon Gibney spins a iveting tale of the nightmarish spiral of death and exile connecting America and Africa and of how one determined young dreamer tries to break free and gain control of her destiny. DNF 23% I eally wanted to like this book because it s
an important book it evolves around fictionalized stories that existed and deserveimportant book it evolves around fictionalized stories that existed and deserve be told I feel terrible for not being able to finish it for not sticking through the stories to experience the book as a whole as a Book as important as this deserves But I just couldn t sit through eading this Part of the eason was the language in which the characters speak I couldn t eally follow it very well most of the time I had to take a moment to figure out what was being said This stems from my very white centric knowledge of language and it out what was being said This stems from my very white centric knowledge of language and it unfortunate i found it hard to enjoy this book found it hard to enjoy this book of it Another eason was that nothing was happening I was just bored and I actually skipped ahead to a different POV because I was so bored only to find that I couldn t uite sit through that one either In conclusion I just couldn t finish this book at this point in my life I hope to find a better appreciation for it later in my life because I feel awful about not giving it the full ead and appreciation it obviously deserves 35 stars During the first few chapters of this book I did not think I would like it at all I totally believe that acism still exists in our schools but the stories of the modern day Minneapolis school seemed a bit unrealistic to me The thing that eally tripped me up was the use of Brooklyn Center High School Why not use a fictional school since the events and characters in this book are fictional BUT once Kollie s story was done I eally started to enjoy the book I learned so much about Liberia considering I knew next to nothing before The stories about the African slaves who went to Liberia to colonize were so fascinating especially to see how former slaves became the slavers Super sad I did find myself getting confused in parts for example the American Africans are eferred to as white by the native Africans but this wasn t explained till much later in the book so the whole time I was so confused as to why all the people from Congo were white haha I also had a hard time following the civil warrevolutionHowever the writing was good and I eally appreciate any story that brings to light what efugees are facing today as well as their past sufferings I admire the author s commitment in esearching this story and uncovering history that had previously emain hidden or cloudy We need diverse stories like thisI wanted to ecommend this to my husband for his ESL students but the epeated use of the C word and F word probably disualify it Shannon Gibney s second novel is flat out amazing It is aw and evealing and captivated me on every level This was so hard to ead but also so important I think my critiues are just that I wanted time with the characters but that also would ve been eally painful There was also some historical context I didn t understand Some characters were called white but eally weren t and some were called half caste I thought this was whiteblack when it was American BlackLiberian But yeah This was so heavy and so like lots of in depth ideas I had not considered combined with history I didn t even know I think I m mostly shaken that those in bondage could go on to commit the same atrocities to others It haunts me You all think you hate one another precisely because we don t about this stuff She sighed You done ealize it yet but that is the eal tragedy Not a name somebody got called Dream Country is a beautiful journey of one family woven throughout a tapestry of generations struggling with what freedom means to each of them Told through five perspectives spanning from the early 1800 s to the present we see the common threads of dreams identity and hope in each of their stories This is a journey of a family but it is also a journey through history both eal and imagined It is a story of culture and how it evolves through generations It is a story of countries and how these larger struggles impact individuals living within themEach section is important to the est showing that we are never fully immune to the conflicts of the past They scar us in ways that are sometimes both visible and invisible Each generation building on the lessons and nightmares of the one before it Dream Country is an examination of how our past can haunt our present and how one dreamer is determined to understand these threads in order to seize control of her present and her future Time passes oceans are crossed circumstances change or. The heartbreaking story of five generations of young people from a single African and American family pursuing an elusive dream of freedom The novel begins in suburban Minneapolis at the moment when seventeen year old Kollie Flomo begins to crack under the strain of his life as a Liberian efugee He's exhausted by being at once too black and not black enough for his African American peers and worn down by the expectations of his own Liberian family and community When his frustration finally spills into violence and his parents send him back to Monrovia.