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. 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.
The most beautiful aspect of this book is undoubtedly the complex stories of the characters which are deftly handled by Imbolo Mbue throughout. Through the protagonist Jende, the reader goes on a journey with a man completely enamoured with the American Dream and the heartbreaking resolution he comes to by the end of the novel. The insight that we get into the world of Clark Edwards, A CEO executive Lehman is equally intriguing. The positioning of the novel during the financial crisis adds entertaining drama and tension to the story.
The characters in this novel are complex, their actions delving into the different components of what it means to be human, our motivations, aspirations and dreams. Despite the complexity of the characters, there is a thread of compassion that runs throughout that endears them all to us.
The ending of the book didn’t feel right but despite this, I loved reading ‘Behold The Dreamers.’
Top Three Quotes
But what has fear ever done for anyone?
Black men and police are palm oil and water.
A man can find a home anywhere.
Guide to Book Review Rating
✯ – Meh
✯✯ – Read at your own risk
✯✯✯ – Hit and Miss
✯✯✯✯✯- Life Companion. Thank me later!