Sunday, March 25, 2007

Dust Covered Dreams by E.A. Graham

Dust Covered Dreams by E.A. Graham
Iomam, 2006
Fiction; 249 pgs

Started: 03/10/2007
Completed: 03/11/2007
Rating: * (Good)

First Sentence: The ten o’clock curfew passed as the tired woman waited patiently for her fifteen year old son, gently wringing her worn hands.

Reason for Reading: I selected this book to review for Curled Up With a Good Book.

Comments: Do not be discouraged in reading this book based on the first sentence or even the first paragraph. While the writing leaves a little something to be desired, at times too heavy in descriptors, the story itself makes this book worth reading and those little idiosyncrasies fade away as the reader gets pulled into the story--and you will get pulled into the lives of these well drawn and complex characters. The novel is the perfect length and the story moves along at such a pace that keeps the reader engaged and interested. It is full of unexpected twists and events, keeping the reader turning pages to find out what happens next.

The novel opens as Teresa Zapata sits waiting for her 15-year-old son to come home. Gabriel is out for a night on the town with his 19-year-old friend, Jose. The two boys are on their way to a party in a well-to-do neighborhood, a much different environment than the one they come from. A set of tragic events begin to unfold when the two boys are pulled over by the police, guns drawn.

Gabriel is a decent boy, dreaming of a better life for himself. He wants nothing more than to go to go to college and make something of himself. He is the youngest of four children. His oldest brother, Don, is an aspiring businessman whose feet are rooted to the ground; his brother Frank is falling from the good path after losing his dream of pursing a career in the military; and then there is Mary, an intelligent young woman with a big heart who will do anything to protect her family. Their mother, Teresa, worries about her children and their future.

The Zapata family lives on the wrong side of the tracks in the Coachella Valley, in a desert city called Indio. Poverty is a way of life; families struggle and dream for more. On the other side, in a more prominent and well-to-do part of the valley, lives the Anderson family. Judge Anderson is a powerful and influential man with political ambitions for his young son and namesake, Mark Anderson III. Mark’s mother, Sarah Anderson, is a woman going through the motions. There is Skip Anderson, Mark’s older brother, who is drowning but does not seem to know it. And then there is Mark, an ambitious attorney who seeks power and yet finds himself wondering at what cost that will come.

The two families are inexplicably linked. Their fates tied together.

Author E.A. Graham has created a powerful and haunting story about these two families, who struggle to survive each in their own way. The Zapatas want a better life for themselves. The Anderson’s seek power and to maintain what they have. Each of them dreams for something more, however right or wrong.

The novel takes readers deep into the heart of both families, touching upon moral issues, justice, and family. Dust Covered Dreams taps into issues such as racism and classism and the strength of the human spirit. It is a story of perseverance and hope. It is all these things and more. Both thought provoking and entertaining, Dust Covered Dreams is worth reading. Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Wendy Runyon, 2007

Favorite Part: I think what most drew me to this novel in the first place, why I selected to review it for Curled Up With a Good Book, was the setting. Although I do not live in the Coachella Valley, it is at most an hour’s drive away from where I live now. It is a part of the area I am familiar with and feel attached to.

My favorite scene in the novel was Teresa’s visit to the ice cream parlor for a strawberry milkshake, as she sits and watches the strangers go by. I knew then what would come next, but that wasn’t the reason that scene stuck out for me. It was a moment of peace for a weary and worried mother.

Note about the Author: Check out the author's website.

Miscellaneous: : I had to get up early this morning despite being up late last reading and it being a weekend day because the cable person is supposed to come by. Between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Although I do not actually expect anyone to come until closer to noon, I still cannot help but be up and dressed and wide awake in case he does show up much earlier than that. My husband, of course, is still snuggled up warm in bed. I shouldn’t blame it entirely on the cable company though. Wasn’t it my adorable early bird of a cat who tried to get me out of bed at 5 this morning? Why doesn’t he ever try to wake up my husband instead? Doesn’t he deserve a turn?

We watched Mrs. Henderson Presents last night, which I thought was good overall. Anjin talked me into watching a Japanese anime series called Witch Hunter Robin, which is proving to be interesting, although a bit on the slow side.

I finished reading Monica Pradhan's novel, The Hindi-Bindi Club, which I very much enjoyed. I will post my thoughts on the book closer to the publication date in May.

Bookfool over at Bookfoolery and Babble nominated me for the Thinking Blogger Award. I was very surprised--pleasantly so! It is nice to be recognized and praised, something I think we all deserve now and then. There are so many terrific blogs out there, and several I follow regularly (thanks to Bloglines). Each one has something to offer me, whether it be a great recommendation, inspiration, a laugh, a cry or a pause for thought. I have met some wonderful people in the blogging community. I haven't quite decided who to nominate. I have never been very good at narrowing the choices down and five seems like such a tiny number when I think of how many of you are deserving of recognition for your blogs.

5 comments:

  1. I just love your reviews Wendy!! You always add so much thought to them. And the little extras about the author and your favorite part! GREAT, as usual!

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  2. Great review! Happy Monday to you. :)

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  3. Congratulations on being nominated! I'm not as surprised as you are, I love your blog and was just waiting for some one to let you know!

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  4. You thoroughly deserved the nom.

    Your review, as usual, made me want to read the book.

    I was laughing out loud at your cat! My cat Sheba felt it was her duty to roust me out of bed at 5am (or as close to it as she could manage.) No one else. Me. When she died last year (sob) and I got Hezekiah, I was surprised to discover after 20 years that I wasn't the early bird, it was Sheba! Hez likes to sleep in.

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  5. Thank you all! I am glad you enjoy my little reviews. :-)

    Carrie K - You had an early bird too! I get more upset when Parker wakes me up five minutes before my alarm is set to go off than when he wakes me up an hour early. LOL Of course, my frustration with him never lasts long. :-)

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