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Dreams of My Mothers: A Story of Love Transcendent

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  249 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Based on true events, this novel is the ultimate story of identity, race, and family, bound up within the dreams, redemption, and love of two women - mothers from the opposite ends of the world and the human condition.

Dreams of My Mothers represents the 21st Century's version of a new Great American Novel. The story graphically blends our new century's domestic and global
Paperback, 324 pages
Published March 1st 2015 by Huff Publishing Associates, LLC (first published February 1st 2015)
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Nov 24, 2014 rated it liked it
Recieved this from Netgallery.

Opening line: "Elmore Linquist was driving way past the speed limit as he pushed his two-year-old Chevy Bel Air through the streets of Minneapolis."

Summary: This story is about a young Korean-American boy named Young Nam. His mom became pregnant with him from an American soldier stationed in Korea. He promised her that he would fly her to America but promises get broken. The story progresses with how she has coped with caring for a baby who is mixed race in a countr
Karen Mathison
Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Soul-searing, but ultimately amazingly uplifting and heart-warming! I am definitely recommending this book to my book club.

This is the first book I’ve read about a different aspect of war and occupation, an important aspect, and that is about the children left behind fathered by U.S. soldiers. Some of these children made it back to the States.

In “Dreams of My Mothers,” the author explores one such situation. The pain a poor Korean mother, Hee Ae, is faced with raising her green-eyed biracial son
Sheri Stevenson
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Only once or twice a year does a book come along that makes me set aside priorities and stay up late into the night reading it in one sitting. I literally could not put this book down. The underlying events of the story are phenomenal and would be an excellent book on their own, but what sets this book apart is how amazingly well-written it is, not only in its very creative organization and storytelling, but also in its prose – which is more like poetry that touches the heart and soul of the rea ...more
Courtney Garner
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading this book and it is very powerful. At first I was struck by the fair-haired heroine, Ellen, and how strong and self-sacrificing she was. But when I came to the end of the book, my opinion completely changed about Hee Ae. She was a heroine also. She made the ultimate sacrifice for her son - she gave him up for a better, richer life. I cried for Young Nam and felt so proud of Noah. Beautifully written. The images stay with you long after you finish the story.
Lisa Koble
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I couldn’t wait to read Dreams of my Mothers; not only because I grew up with the author, attending elementary and high school with him in the same rural Midwestern town he describes in the book, but also because I knew the book’s story would be fascinating.

My earliest memories of the author include the stories he would occasionally tell of his own Korean mother and the life he lived before coming to America. I remember at the time being somewhat dismissive of his stories; thinking “How can he
Pam Thomas
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful spiritual journey where two women whose lives ran parallel but on opposite sides of the world and how love can reach the farthest side of the universe, how tragedy was overturned and pain and sorrow washed away. the childs mother was a alcoholic fueled whore full of self loathing and hatred because her husband had left her , the child was starving his belly full of worms and malnutrition and his mother beat him all the time, then she left him one day and he ended up being badly scald ...more
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, true-stories, war
Dreams of My Mothers is based upon a true story of boy coming of age. Two women are his mothers from opposite ends of the world. It is a story of finding identity, dreams, redemption and love of the 2 women.

This book will appeal to both men and women and is sure to be a best selling book. It is hard to put down and the story stays with you long after you have read it.

I was happy that I won this book through the Good Reads First Reads Giveawy. I, also, thank Mr. Peterson for writing this great bo
Lori Lightfoot
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this amazing story. I had mixed emotions as far as hurry up and finish or slow down because I didn't want the story to end. I absolutely loved it! Thank you Joel for sharing your story. I learned so much from this book. There is a lesson and a message for everyone to learn from Dreams of my Mothers. Congratulations Joel! I look forward to following the path of your beautiful book.
Wendy Wyatt
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary tale (based on true events) about love, redemption, tolerance and courage. Riveting as you follow along on the adventures of a boy spanning two continents. Anchored by two mothers who are literally and figuratively worlds apart, yet share a bond with their love for a boy... Uniquely written in the tandem of "now" and "then", this is a page turner that will have you laughing and crying and wanting more. Beautifully done!
Ann Westman
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Compelling, revisiting, soul searching, heart-aching, breathtaking are the emotions I felt throughout the whole book. Joel's words deeply went into my heart, it was so gut wrenching, broke me down only to help me bring me back up! This book is a must read for those that want to feel, need to feel, should feel the love of a little boy for his two moms. Beautifully written!!
Brenda Gant
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Dreams of My Mothers" is the amazing story, based on true events, of a biracial boy born in Korea into circumstances so dire it is hard to imagine. First-time author Joel Peterson brings to life this incredible tale of struggle of a much-marginalized, poverty-stricken child, and his transformation into a highly successful global executive through the overwhelming love and heartbreaking sacrifices of his two mothers, especially the encouragement of his adoptive Minnesotan mother.

"Dreams" educat
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
This compelling autobiographical novel tells the story of a little boy born to a poor Korean mother and an American GI who abandons her. Unable to look after the child, the mother reluctantly gives him up for adoption to an American family, and he grows up, much loved, in Minnesota. He goes on to be both happy and successful though ever mindful of his roots. So far so moving, but for me the author’s style left much to be desired and detracted considerably from my enjoyment of the narrative. For ...more
Betsy Cohen
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. This first-time author told a beautiful story beautifully.

A few reviewers have complained that the narrator goes into too much detail about "irrelevant things," talking about the back story of everyday items. For me, however, this is exactly in character with how a person like the narrator would approach the world. Here is a kid who spent the first 6-7 years of his life in abject poverty in a then-poverty-ridden country, who suddenly gets thrust into middle class America. He sp
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I won this book through Goodreads.
From the moment I opened this book and read the poem at the front, I was spellbound. Each page I turned afterwards rewarded me with flawless writing and a magical journey through the eyes of the main characters of the book.
I was instantly drawn to the character of Noah and felt as though I wanted to comfort and protect him, take him in my arm and even adopt him!
The great thing about this book is that firstly I despised his Korean mother, yet before long I felt
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaways and I was so pleased that I did. An interesting read from start to finish. This fictional story is based on the author's own experience being adopted by a family in Minnesota at a young age. The main character is a boy whose mother is Korean and his father is an American soldier. Noah is not accepted by his mother's country and does not have any connection with his biological father. His mother does her best to raise him and eventually comes to the diffic ...more
Jaimie Bruzenak
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wonderful inspiring autobiography, written as fiction. It was a little hard to read because the author jumped around time periods and families. Plus he threw in so much background about anything odd that was mentioned - for example, that French presses used by Noah on a private jet were actually invented by an Italian. That was distracting.

The story itself was wonderful. It's the story of a Korean-Anerican boy born out of wedlock to a mother who was already shunned. His mother took out her frus
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Won a copy through Goodreads!


This was an interesting book. It’s about a biracial Korean/American child named Young Nam. His mother, Hee Ae, got pregnant by a soldier that ended up abandoning her. She struggles to take care of herself and her child for many years before making the painful decision to place him for adoption. He is then adopted by a couple/family living in America, and renamed Noah. We explore Noah/Young Nam’s life through the years, as well as his relationship with each of hi
Feb 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a Goodreads First Reads book and an amazing story.

This is a story of a young scared boy who's world is his mother. It is about a heartbreaking sacrifice of a loving mother who feels she has no other choice then to give her son away for a better life. It is about another mother who is opening her and her family's world to adopting a young Korean/American boy to give him the love he deserves and a chance for a better life. It is a wonderful story about two very strong mothers who gave the
J. Ewbank
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
What a powerful biography. It could have been written so many other ways that would not have so well stold the story of a young Korean boy, born of a Korean mother and an American father, deserted by the father when he returned from his war. The story continues with his birth mother giving him up for adoption so that the young boy could have what she could not give him - what love it took to do this. It continues with the story of the American mother and the preparation by God for her to receive ...more
Diane Hanson
Feb 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dreams Of My Mothers is a shockingly engaging, powerful, and compelling novel. It is a truly remarkable story, based on actual events, about a mother's love and how it can transcend any culture, place, or time. Heart wrenching at times, it is an inspirational testament to the human spirit and its ability to unselfishly act in unfathomable ways at the least expected times.
First time author, Joel L.A. Peterson, exhibits an impact and level of sophistication in his writing that one would expect onl
Judy Townsend
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Joel Peterson's book is a heartwarming, but also, at times, heartbreaking story about the life of a child born in a war torn country by an Asian mother and an American serviceman and his adoption into a very white, northern state, American home. Mr. Peterson weaves the story of his two mothers, an unknown father, and his family of adoption and interesting historical facts to create a story of which the reader can almost believe was the story of his own life. I loved this book! It is well written ...more
Sandy Harris
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of Joel Peterson's DREAMS OF MY MOTHERS via a Goodreads giveaway. The novel, based on a true story, tells the story of a Korean, biracial boy, who is adopted by an American family in 1970. With a strong emphasis on the stories and roles of both the mothers in his life, the well written novel shares honest insights into everyone involved. It will open your eyes and your heart. Definitely a good read…
J.M. Infusino
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every one
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were a couple of times that I had to go back a few pages to keep up with the time line. Your book makes me wonder just how much of my Grandson remembers about his time in China. I pray that he remembers none of it. You gave the pain and joy as if we were right there with you.

Thank you for letting us go with you on your journey from a child to becoming an adult.
Joy Zheng
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The unique situation your described in the book really attracted me into the story. The images are vivid, making the story emerging out of the pages.Different perspectives and feelings of storytellers make the story distinct – not a familiar “American Dream” type story, but a story about thoughts on life and love – the everlasting and consistent topics of human beings.
Jean Benedict
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was a must read.Noah is a biracial boy born in Korea. He was adopted by an American family in Minnesota.The story is based on a true story.This is a story of love,courage and sacrifice.The only thing I did not like was the going back and forth from past to present. I won this book from first reads. I look forward to reading more books from Joel Peterson.
Linda G Johns
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It has been a long time since I've read such a moving and motivating book. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I literally could not put it down once I started it. I was moved to tears more than once, and the story will stay with me for a very long time.
Denise Berube
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A superb touching read of resilience, survival and sacrifice, it will take your heart in its grip and won't let go till long after you have finished the book.

Thank you to Goodreads First Reads and Joel L.A. Peterson for the opportunity to read this book.
Amanda Day
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book! Perfect gift for Mother's day.
Mary Beth
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful Biographical-Fiction book!
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the story of a little half Korean, half American boy whose mother gave him up for adoption in order to give him the chance to survive in a place where he had a chance for all of the things she couldn't give him. It is also a story of his adoptive mother and family. Based on a true story. The boy is rejected by Koreans because he is not full-blooded Korean. He starts his life in abject poverty and tragedy. We see his mother's attempts to make a life for him and her final decision to give ...more
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As a first-time book author, writing has not been Joel L. A. Peterson’s primary profession. But you would never know that from reading his debut novel. In his book Dreams of My Mothers he brings his unique personal background as a biracial international adoptee and combines it with his penetrating insights into multiple cultures as well as his extraordinary international professional experiences t ...more

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November is the time for aspiring writers to get serious about writing that book! It's National Novel Writing Month, the annual event designed to...
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“Loyalties of professional sports teams mystified him; they were rotating groups of paid professionals, usually with no ties other than their employment contract to the local area. One might as well feel loyalty to and cheer on the construction crew repairing the state highway nearest one's town” 1 likes
“Noah, for all of human history, for millions of years, starting from even before we were exactly fully ‘human,’ a number of things were very tightly linked with each other. Location—call it geography—physical appearance or attributes—call it race—language and culture—all these things—were very closely linked and tied to each other. People were born, lived, and died within a very small, fixed area. So, if someone looked a certain way or talked a certain language or was from a certain area, then by knowing just that one fact, you could deduce almost everything about them. This was true until very recently in human history. In fact until the United States of America occurred. We were the first nation that was made up of everyone coming from somewhere else originally.” 0 likes
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