Melissa Mcavoy's Reviews > The Dreamer

The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan
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F 50x66
's review
Nov 10, 10

bookshelves: children-s-books
Read in November, 2010

I really liked this much- lauded book for the first 50 pages. The dreamy child protagonist Neftali, lives in rural Chili. He is misunderstood and there is magical realism. SO far so good. What derailed my enjoyment were the stereo-types and the didacticism. Neftali's father is bad. The merchants are bad. The step-mother is down trodden, but good. The liberal Uncle is good. All the native Mapuche indians are good. All nature is good. All hunters are bad. With a sense of dread I realized this was a fictionalized biography of Pablo Neruda. I know the author and illustrator to be talented. I trust they researched the book thoroughly. Perhaps all the defamations and lionizations are just. Man oh man was it dead in the water to me. I can not imagine a more disappointing and tiresome read for a child. It's initial charm makes it seem especially problematic that it turns out to be such a relentless hagiography of a fictionalized Neruda. Yuck.

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