The planning committee for the annual community-wide reading program known as Linn Area Reads has selected Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue for the 2018 edition of the program. The committee invites everyone in Linn County to come together to share this powerful book through discussions and programs.
Behold the Dreamers features the story of Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, who has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.
However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.
When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.
Linn Area Reads is a program of the Metro Library Network, which is made up of the Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha Public Libraries, in partnership with Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Center Point Public Library, Central City Public Library, Coggon Public Library, Cole Library (Mt. Vernon), Ely Public Library, Fairfax Public Library, Lisbon Public Library, Next Page Books, and Springville Public Library.
Check out a copy of this year’s title from your local library and visit each Library’s website or the Linn Area Reads website for more information on Linn Area Reads programs and special events.
For more information on Linn Area Reads, visit www.metrolibrarynetwork.org/linnareareads.