Boozy Books: I’m So Behiiiind

Hello Cactus followers, and welcome to today’s incomplete Boozy Books. I am currently halfway through two new books, so I don’t have a new pairing for this week.

However, I would like to revisit Behold the Dreamers. I know, I know… I only paired this book about a month ago, so why am I jumping back so soon? WELL. Imbolo Mbue, the incredibly talented author of said book, came to my local library and did an amazing talk back that opened my eyes to her vision and the deeper importance of the story. It. Was. Awesome.

I also had a chance to speak with her one-on-one about developing your writing style and being true to your stories. She’s amazing and my respect for her is officially through the roof. She spent five years on this novel, she’s a “self-taught” writer with non-writing degrees from both Rutgers and Columbia, and she’s so kind and giving. I can’t wait for her next piece. (I will plan to dedicate a Monday Muse to the conversation I had with her. Lots of good stuff.)

So, anyway, what did I learn about Behold the Dreamers? Well, I learned that Mbue’s vision came from a simple walk down the streets of New York. She talked a lot about how curious she is about everything and everyone around her, and how deeply she tends to study people. She was inspired by watching chauffeurs and executives interacting on the streets of the city. She considered the class difference, the story and hardships of both the employer and the employee, and set about telling a story of two families and the intersection where their lives collide.

Mbue also had some interesting things to say about the issues that are so prominent in the novel (immigration, race and class inequality, etc.). She stressed that storytelling was the most important aspect of writing the book, and that any issues that were held under the light were simply her honest exploration of the characters and the story. Of course Mbue expressed her joy that the story opened important dialogue and helped others experience a different perspective, but her loyalty was to her characters.

I could probably write a dissertation about the two hour talk back I attended, but since I’m already late getting this post published, I’ll leave you here.

I said it before, and I’ll say it again: please, go read this book.




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