(Very) Brief review of Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Note: I could probably write a good bit– and I probably will — about how bizarre I find the process of reviewing a book (or music, movie, etc.) It’s not a natural thing for me, to critique a book in my own words. In short, I normally like what I like, without being able to tell you why. I often read other’s reviews of things when i finish them, not (as I occasionally fear) to tell me what to think, but to give words to what I thought both through things I agree with and don’t. In the end, though, it does slow down the process of learning why I like what I like, and learning how to express it. And that is why I’m going to start (to struggle to) review some of the books I read this year — probably poorly, with hopes of improvement.

dreamland

This was hard to read, but the reason why changed drastically in the process of reading. There’s a spoiler of sorts (though it was something I sort of wished I’d known going into the book) so be warned.

First bit: I almost gave up on this one. It felt routine: teenage girl is unsatisfied, discontent, good girl, etc. Meets bad boy. Gets to break out of mold, find self. I rightly assumed the formula would continue: something bad happens because of bad boy. Subsequently finds self.

But my technically correct assumption was very, very wrong.

The rest: I spent portions of this book angry. Near-fury angry, wanting to dive into the book and verbally lash out at a character kind of angry. I felt the need to somehow to step in and lift the protagonist out of there and into safety as soon as the first slap. If it weren’t for the fact that I mostly read on my commute, in public, I could have cried for some of these scenes. And this is me: I don’t normally (read: almost ever) get that emotionally involved over my fictional characters. I think I’ve cried, very briefly, over one piece of fiction recently, and I don’t even remember what it was. But once in awhile it hits home how easily this could be someone you know, and it’s different.

I’m glad I read it, I think. But it was a lot to take in, and will probably be on my mind for awhile.

2 Replies to “(Very) Brief review of Dreamland by Sarah Dessen”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *