Shannon's Reviews > Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
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Aug 06, 08

Read in August, 2008

What a thought-provoking book! The book is split into three sections (Origins, Chicago and Kenya). I tried splitting up my reading of it in roughly the same manner since it's easier for me to get through a non-fiction book if I intersperse it with fiction.

I think each section left me with a different series of questions. Origins left me thinking about community: its value, how we choose it, are chosen by it, and what it means to be within and without community. Origins also made me ponder how challenging adolescence is for anyone and how those challenges are compounded for someone who doesn't quite fit in to any one category.

Chicago made me think about what I see as the big problems of our society today: how to empower people not only practically, but help them believe in possibilities. Obama brings an interesting perspective to his work on the south side of Chicago because he is both within and apart from the community he is serving. I was encouraged by his persistence in getting to know people who needed help and felt a desire to be more persistent in building relationships with those in my community who need help.

Kenya made me think about family. I ended the book unsure whether family is blessing, burden or both. Obama's relationship to his family differs vastly from mine. Yet I found myself thinking about family and what family's role should be in my life. Am I too quick to disengage from extended family because of the day to day challenges of raising three young children? What are my children losing if I don't make an effort to retain ties to family near and far, old and young? What am I losing? Is it about loss and gain or responsibility?

It took me a while to read this book for several reasons: it's fairly long, it's non-fiction and it made me stop and think. It was well worth my time to read Barack Obama's story and think about my own story - what it is now and what I'll choose to make it.
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message 1: by Tiana (new) - added it

Tiana I can't wait to read this book. I'm on a long waiting list at the library to get a copy of it. If I think it'll be worth it, I might buy it. But I don't generally buy books unless I think I'll want to keep them, otherwise I'd be broke! Thanks for the review- it sounds intriguing...


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