This is the Dream
OTF Literary (2021)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (01/2022)
When it came to this particular read, I was first enchanted by the title. For many decades of my life, dreams have been a part of my nighttime plan. In fact, it’s difficult to remember a time when, for eight hours straight, my world was simply bathed in blackness. Of course, according to science, we all dream every night because our minds don’t actually shut down; if they did, simply put, we’d be dead. But millions don’t remember ever having the actual dream. They wake up, refreshed, head to the shower by way of the coffee pot, and get prepared for the day ahead. I was either lucky or not in the fact that my night visions were bright, colorful, had well-defined characters, and I woke remembering every single movement and event that’d happened while I slept. The only time this was not a well-liked occurrence was when a monster by the name of Freddy Krueger showed his face on the big screen in what became a popular horror series called “The Nightmare on Elm Street.” I have to say, that’s one character you do not want to have crop up in your dreams.
After being drawn in by this title, however, I sat down and began to completely enjoy the ten stories that serve as the collection for this book. These various short stories and some novellas, if you will, define “dreaming” in a whole new way. In fact, sleeping and “witnessing” scenes that play out in your mind is not actually the point here; instead, this author has spun tales about truth. The plotlines range from one end of the proverbial rainbow to the other. Whereas one story spotlights an inspector of chocolate named Ruth who turns to a famous romance novelist for help with her fear of suffocation in “Paper Walls”; another story focuses on a teen named Peter who learns more about reality than he ever suspected while spending the Christmas holiday with his family members in “Island Santa.”
That’s the thing. No matter what story you’re about to enter into, you never know what you’re going to get and how the concept of “dreams” is related to it all. Each tale written is intelligent, cool, and imaginative. There’s even a remarkable work, offered up in three parts, called “Failure to Thrive” that will have you gasping at the plot, and following each act word-for-word in order to see how the entire journey plays out.
The dialogue at times is extremely humorous, and the choice of subject matter allows you to explore a variety of locations and the memorable minds of many characters dealing with relationships, other-worldly creatures, the goddess Andromeda, and so much more. One of the most memorable, to this reader, is a story entitled, “Hating George Clooney.” Not only was the tale of a recently laid-off factory worker who looks at becoming a convict an attention-grabber but learning that the entire book was dedicated by the author to George Clooney (who also said “No offense”) made you want to dive into it even more.
I can’t say enough about this literary journey; it was a celebration, and I absolutely loved it! And as a grown-up woman who now lives (believe it or not) on Elm Street, I was relieved to discover that the book is not as much about the dark world of sleep and dreams as it is about outstanding stories that will have you reading them far more than once. Enjoy!