Compelling Immigrant Story Chosen for Community Reads

LAR Review

Posted on January 28, 2018 - 9:28am

I am excited to find that the Linn Area Reads selection committee has chosen Imbolo Mbue’s great book, Behold the Dreamers, as its 2018 title.

This was the November selection for the Library’s Coffeehouse Fiction book group, and it inspired a great discussion that afternoon!

Our group talked about the compelling parallel life stories of the wealthy and privileged white family (Clark, Cindy, and their son Mighty), and the much less well-to-do but aspirational and hard-working Cameroonian family (Jende, Neni, and their son Liomi). Mbue weaves their lives together in intricate ways, many of which are financial.

Our discussion focused to some extent on the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the economic crash in 2007, and the ways in which the ensuing economic problems of the wealthy upper class trickled down to impact nearly everyone – in this story, most profoundly Jende and Neni and their lives in America.

As the economic noose tightens and circumstances change for both families, the choices each faces and the decisions they must make in their efforts to preserve their families and ways of life become heart-rending and don’t usually work out quite as planned.

This book was an Oprah selection and will without doubt give you lots to think about, particularly given the current national discussions on immigration policy. We look forward to hearing our communities’ input about the story and its implications.

To learn more about programming and book discussions planned throughout Linn County, please visit the Linn Area Reads website at

--Jo Pearson, Assistant Director