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The Daydreamer

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  4,558 ratings  ·  427 reviews
Taking childhood as his subject matter, The Daydreamer is Ian McEwan's first work of fiction that appeals to children as well as adults.
In these seven interlinked stories the grown-up Peter reveals the secret journeys, metamorphoses and adventures of his childhood. Living somewhere between dream and reality, Peter experiences magical transformations. He swaps bodies
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 7th 1995 by Vintage (first published September 1st 1994)
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  4,558 ratings  ·  427 reviews

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Watch out! I’m coming down the street on my pogo stick!!

You want me to read a kid’s book? I don’t think so. Give me adult drama, the more messed up and angsty the better. Bad decisions, deceit, despair, sign me up. But I listened to Betsy, whom I thank profusely for letting me in on this secret collection of short stories by one of my favorite authors, Ian McEwan, and for suggesting I read it to the 9-year-old I sit for. I’ve never read anything aloud but picture books, and that was for the ca
Betsy Robinson
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Delightful, delicious stories that appeal equally to adults and kids. Ian McEwan’s young protagonist, Peter Fortune, has a daydreaming habit—much the way most writers do or did in childhood. And every chapter is a daydreaming adventure. They are funny, moving, and impeccably written stories.

The appeal for kids is obvious in experiences of magical daydreams becoming real. The appeal for adults is a little harder to articulate, but it has to do with experiencing a sweetness of childhood that one

I once heard Ian McEwan described as a Marmite author; a distinctive taste that, in line with the Marmite marketing slogan, you either "Love it or hate it."

I must admit, I've had my share of "hit and miss" with McEwan but I did enjoy The Daydreamer, which is his first work of fiction for children. The book is described however as appealing to adults as well, due in part to the fact that it is an "adult" Peter who tells the story of his childhood.

The Daydreamer is about 10 year Peter Fortune who is a chronic
Jun 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had read this edition with the cat on the cover! McEwan writes spare, playful, and meditative prose in this book for children and for adults meditating on what it means to be a child and what it means to lose childhood but not to lose imagination. Each chapter centers on the relationship between the solitary child and other people and creatures. I like that solitude, perception, and imaginative leaps cause the child to bridge the gap between himself and others. Instead of suspecting tha ...more
Feb 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the preface to The Daydreamer Ian McEwan asks if we adults really mean it when we say we like children’s literature or are we merely “speaking up for, and keeping the lines open to, our lost, nearly forgotten selves?” Mind you when he wrote this it was before the whole Harry Potter phenomenon – and there were plenty of adults who enjoyed curling up with that series. Still, the appeal to adults of Harry Potter might have been as much about the finely constructed plot and suspenseful narrative ...more
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of related stories/chapters, telling incidents from the life of a boy of 10 - 11. Peter is a daydreamer and thus the boundaries between fact and fiction are often intriguingly blurred. But 3 of the seven stories are body-swaps and you guess the gist of the one called “Vanishing Cream” from its title, so although the characters are quite good and the storytelling somewhat original, the stories themselves are not. The one called “The Bully” would work well as a standalone piece and co ...more
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Have you ever wake up from dreaming an adventure? Well……this book is about what Peter Fortune, the kid, dreams. The amusing adventures took place in Peter’s dreams. The author described the actions well and very clear. This book is totally fun to read. The adventures and the lessons plus the humorous actions will entertain you a lot. Readers of fantasy will probably like to read this book.
Will Ansbacher
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, kids
A set of 7 short – very short - stories concerning a young boy, Peter, who can never keep his head together. At first I didn’t realize that it was a children’s book as it is introduced by Peter as an adult, when he realizes he was not a “difficult” child, just a bit of a loner and a daydreamer.

“But this is Ian McEwan”, I was thinking, “it can’t end well”. All of the stories do, however, in fact I was a little disappointed that nothing bad happened, I was expecting at least a touch of Roald Dahl. Bu
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-read
The Daydreamer is a children's book written by Ian McEwan whose dreamy and vivid portrayal of the power of imagination will charm and delight its readers of different age groups. Perfect for children and grown-ups who love Enid Blyton or Roald Dahl. Simply magical.
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New adventures in every chapter!

It is about an eleven years old boy named Peter's imagination. Sometimes his imagination would be seemed as ridiculous but he is just eleven years old so they would be quite acceptable but believe me they are so funny. Swapping bodies with a cat, making his family vanish by rubbing the vanishing cream all over them, planning to catch the burglar by himself (like in the Home Alone movie) and swapping his body with his Aunt's child through his wild imagi
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was one of the strangest book I've encounter. I liked it too because it taught me new phrases and vocabulary.
The illustrated version of this title was not available when I looked for it... highly disappointing. This takes Ian McEwan's versatility to a new level. Honestly did not realize that was even possible. We start with an introduction to Peter, our narrator. McEwan writes with a very convincing child's point of view, a child's imagination, playfully constructing stories through the schooldays, daydreams, fantasy worlds, concocting interesting yet often intelligent vignettes that, in the end, like ...more
Sep 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle school to adult
Recommended to Linden by: Review in newspaper
Ever revisit an old book-friend and find the luster is gone? That is definitely not the case with McEwan's The Daydreamer. Yesterday, after a day which included the euthanasia of an elderly pet, I took the book home for the second time, in hopes of putting the world right again.

This collection of short stories is centered on Peter, a ten-year-old who has an imagination which, at times, can rule him. In school, at home, with his younger sister, petting his cat, thinking about his sister's dolls--all are oc
Yamin Eaindray
I'm stunned by this young boy's unwonted and unrestricted inventiveness and imagination. It throws me off completely. This book was much better than I expected it to be because admittedly, I judged the book by its cover which is the wrong thing to do. Somehow, the way the author puts what Peter is thinking about makes me actually mentally experience what he's feeling, which is a sweeping effect. I highly recommend this book to everybody in all ages, especially if you like a wild, spectacular boo ...more
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-enjoy-again
Sort of like a fable for all ages. Sort of like the movie "Big." Definitely written by someone who is appreciated by the Booker award givers. I quite liked it, even though I highly doubt I'd like any of McEwan's works for adults. Anthony Browne's illustrations are a perfect fit - if you're a fan of his books, especially his Willie stories, you might want to give this very short episodic novel a try.
Nick Davies
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, favourites
I'd asked for this for Christmas, on the strength of McEwan being one of my favourite authors, without prior knowledge of this book being intended (initially) for children. Reading it was a delightful pleasure, despite not being the target audience, I found it a very enjoyable hour's amusement.

The titular daydreamer is an eleven year old boy, and the short novel follows a few chapters in his family life and fantasy life too. Insightful and intelligent, believable in both the mundane
Andrei Tite
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jared Della Rocca
"When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11

As we get older, we tend to get more and more bogged down with the day-to-day. We don't have as much time for fantasy as we devote most of our thoughts to reality. That sheen of endless possibilities has worn off as we are trained by the world to focus on the here and now.

As a parent of two little kids, I'm able t
Tiffany T. Taw
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it
A great way of playing with adjective and adverbs! Although it attracts me a lot at the beginning of every chapter, it bores me out in the middle of a new opening. I struggled a bit in understanding their unique way of using phrases. This book takes slightly longer time to finish compared to the other books I have read as i cannot concentrate well because it's not under my favorite categories.

This short story is about a boy always enjoy to spend all of him time daydreaming. The peopl
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: j-adore
[rating = A]
This is not just a children's book. It can certainly make you feel like a child again, but it has very universal messages about life. Peter is the star character, masterful in his domain of puerile activities and imagination. He goes out into the world with one fact and gains the knowledge of a plethora in a single day/experience. Cats, burglars, fights and words, beaches and first loves, bodily transplants and draws with vanishing cream. It is a very exciting book and easy to
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Nice book. I have never read a book which talks about someone's thoughts, dreams and feelings. This books is mostly about Peter's dreams and how he faced them. I enjoyed reading the chapter where Peter discovers moving dolls. In that chapter the dolls rebel against them to get a good place.

Very interesting to read. How does he dream so much?! And why??? You learn crazy lessons from this book and never daydream.
Ariethia Ariethia
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I love about this book is that it is so full of imagination. At times, I find it disturbing (like the one about the thief..I really thought the neighbor was the thief!). My favorite story in this book, is the one about the bully. It really got me thinking about how people probably act the way they are not because they want to, but because the environment put them in that position :-)
Thar Lun Myat
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading about a boy that likes to daydream. For example he daydreamed that he put vanishing cream on his parents and made them disappear or he switched bodies with a cat and also a baby. He also overcame his fear on a small bully at school by having the feeling that he is a bully because people made him.
Noor Al-Zubaidi
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You'd think it's a children's book till you realize this was meant for you. Don't lose your imagination, and learn how to step into other people's (or a cat's) shoes. Lessons you rediscover as Peter learns them for the first time.
I recommend it if you want a light read that reminds you to dream!
Tay Za
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I think this is a great book. It is easy and I think it is more suitable for Year 7.

The boy is about 10 years old and his name is called peter. He dreams things that is impossible to happen. This book is very fictional but it is very good to read. I got bored at the middle of the book.
Maythin Kyi
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Peter is a very quiet who always like to stay alone and thinking about all the things that come to his mind. He don't have many friends but his mind is full with imaginations and plans. The one thing I like about this bookie when I thought it's really happening, it was just Peter daydreaming.
Deepika Ramesh
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Please pardon my adverbs, and adjectives. This book is supremely awww-inducing, and heartwarming. My blog on it here:
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved every single line of this masterpiece ♥ It was really easy to find myself within each chapter, it was like a travel to my own childhood. It was really funny, however, some chapters just made me cry, mostly the one with the cat. Lovely ♥
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a rare thing to behold when such simple yet wonderful children's stories capture your imagination and actually make you laugh out loud, and you find yourself so immersed in the unfolding events that suddenly you're at the end of the book. I only wish it were longer! 4.5/5
Riley Brubaker)
Well written. Cute. But not my favorite of his work.
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Ian McEwan studied at the University of Sussex, where he received a BA degree in English Literature in 1970 and later received his MA degree in English Literature at the University of East Anglia.

McEwan's works have earned him worldwide critical acclaim. He won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1976 for his first collection of short stories First Love, Last Rites; the Whitbread Novel Award (1987
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“If life was a dream, then dying must be the moment when you woke up. It was so simple it must be true. You died, the dream was over, you woke up. That's what people meant when they talked about going to heaven. It was like waking up.” 72 likes
“By some magic reversal, everything spectacularly useless filled the drawer intended for practical tools. What could you do with a single piece of jigsaw? But, on the other hand, did you dare throw it away?” 20 likes
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