Book Review: The Book of Dreams by Nina George

Monday, May 20, 2019

Title: The Book of Dreams
Author: Nina George
Publication Date: April 2019

Synopsis: "A heartwarming and magical tale about the distance one man will travel for the sake of love, from the internationally bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop.

On his way to meet his son for the first time, hardened war correspondent Henry Skinner is hit by a car after rescuing a child from drowning. He is rushed to hospital where he floats, comatose, between dreams, reliving the fairytales of his childhood and the secrets that made him run away in the first place.

His son, Sam, a thirteen-year old synesthete with an IQ of 144, waits at his father's bedside. There he meets Eddie Tomlin, a woman forced to confront her love for Henri all these years, and twelve-year old Madelyn Zeidler, another coma patient and the sole survivor of an accident that killed her family.

A heartbreakingly moving and unforgettable story about what love means - the exquisite stirrings of first love, the love between fathers and sons, friendship and family, life and death - and making peace with the past in order to find a future."

My thoughts: I have adored every book of Nina George's that has been translated into English so far - she writes in such a beautifully lyrical and loving way, and her characters feel so real to me, as if I have spent hours with them whilst reading this book. This does lead me to feeling sad when I have to close the book and finish reading, but I rest easier in the fact that I can always reread the book, and probably find something new.

The Book of Dreams is similar to both of George's previous books, and yet I feel that she is taking things a step further with this one - exploring the world of comas, lucid dreaming, life and death. I really just had to open the book to be swept away, and this book is such a pleasure to read - even though it deals with some intense topics. I cried a couple of times during the reading of this, but George writes in such a way that you are not just mourning the characters and what is happening to them, you're also wondering about your own life, whether these experiences you are reading about will ever happen to you or someone you love, and you find yourself considering things like the afterlife, fighting for life, and all the different forms of love.

I had some very small issues with this book, which I'd just like to mention one of: we don't really hear from Madelyn's point of view. I think I understand George's decision not to do that, but it also still irked me a little that we were always hearing what she thought and felt through the lens of someone else, but perhaps George was making a comment on how doctors are forced to speak for someone when they're in a coma, rather than to them.

That aside, I loved this book so much. I can't wait to read Nina George's next one.

{I received a review copy of this book from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!}

A favourite line from the book: '"Children, dogs, and cats see and sense things whose existence we deny. Growing up doesn't always make you smarter. It usually makes you more stupid."'

You would like this book if: You have enjoyed Nina George's other books; you love literary fiction with a bit of magical realism thrown in, and some characters who can really pull at your heartstrings.

Tea to drink while reading this book: Something light and herbal, I think, to drift into beautiful dreams. I'm partial to Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime Vanilla.

Rating:  9/10

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