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The Beginner's Book of Dreams

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  66 ratings  ·  4 reviews
This celebrated coming-of-age novel moves from Manhattan during the early days of Mad Men to the swinging, chaotic 1970s: A sensitive girl burdened with her mother's drinking and long string of husbands becomes a special young woman when her best friend's family opens her eyes to art

Esme Singer is a resilient girl from Los Angeles, new to Manhattan, who takes better care
ebook, 3rd, 325 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Open Road Media (first published March 12th 1988)
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Ronald Wise
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A coming-of-age story about Esme Singer, as she grows up in New York City with her mother and a series of step-fathers, and while her natural father travels the country pursuing his dreams. Esme struggles to establish her personal legitimacy while determined to not be like her parents. I learned of this novel through a tibute to Benedict's birthday on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac. ...more
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A coming-of-age story set in 70's New York, about Esme Singer, who wants to be "different from her parents." She observes her mother's love affairs, her father's get-rich-quick schemes, while trying to define her own identity.

I picked up this book when I was 12 at a used books store. I really love these sort of coming-of-age stories, so perhaps I'm predisposed to like them, but it was pretty well-written; the peripheral characters are memorable; I love the dialogue and years after, reading this
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Nope - not a self-help book but a novel about a teenager building dreams that she almost believes. Her father is absent and her mother lives with her 'current knight in shining armor' leaving Esme with no model for what her life should be. Her dreams become her reality until reality shatters them.

Moves through about 8 years though often it's hard to figure out her age since she lives in her dreams as a young woman even though at the beginning she is a 12 year old. Comments about school - she oft
Elizabeth Benedict
Oct 01, 2014 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
“Splendid . . . a bold, expressive view of growing up absurd in New York City . . . a reminder of the capacity of the wounded human spirit to rise to the occasion, which is life.” —The New York Times Book Review "The wonder is that such a sad book could be such a joy to read." Anne Tyler, Chicago Tribune ~~~~ My second novel, THE BEGINNER'S BOOK OF DREAMS (published by Knopf back in the 20th century), is being offered at $1.99 on a ebook promo by the publisher, in a campaign of novels about art. ...more
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Elizabeth Benedict is bestselling novelist, journalist, editor, writing coach, and teacher of creative writing. She's the author of five novels and of THE JOY OF WRITING SEX: A GUIDE FOR FICTION WRITERS, and editor of three anthologies: the just published ME, MY HAIR AND I: 27 WOMEN UNTANGLE AN OBSESSION, the NYTIMES bestseller, WHAT MY MOTHER GAVE ME: 31 WOMEN ON THE GIFTS THAT MATTERED MOST and ...more

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