Behold the dreamers – Imbolo Mbue

For her last public remark as the first lady, Michele Obama made a striking finale. An appeal for hope and inclusiveness. That’s what behold the dreamers is all about. HOPE!

It goes like this. Jende Jonga is a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, New York. He went to the United States to provide a better life for himself, and his family. When Jende lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers, he is eager to please, however, it’s always safe to buckle up. There are speed bumps and potholes ahead.

Behold the dreamers looks at an immigrants experience through the eyes of a married couple, who share similar desires. However, not everyone gets a slice of the big Apple. “America was passing her by. New York City was passing her by. Bridges and billboards bearing smiling people were passing her by. Skyscrapers and brownstones were rushing by. Fast. Too fast. Forever.”

Mbue’s writing about the everyday life in America has a hilarious knack. Did I mention that Jende applied for asylum to become a citizen? Stating that his father-in-law, wanted to kill him for impregnating his daughter. This is a brilliant creation for a debut novel, her portrayal of the American dream is overawe. At the end, there is no place like home, where negotiating the price of potatoes is the norm.

382 pages – Read in November 2016