Questing for a Dream
By P.D. Workman
This is a very good book. I can honestly say that I enjoyed this from the bottom of my heart. I’ll admit, I’m a pretty lenient reviewer at times but I’m not playing this up. P.D. Workman takes a set of very plain, very typical characters and gives them much depth and meaning within a very simple world.
Questing for a Dream takes place on a Native American reservation with teenagers Nadie and her best friend Mouse as the main characters. Nadie is a kind, compassionate girl and Mouse is a spunky young man both looking for their place in the reservation as well as the rest of the world. Both teens have their own struggles, Nadie witnesses a terrible loss in her family. Her mother leaves shortly after and during her mourning she makes the terrible mistake of abusing substances which disappoints her grandfather. Mouse, on the other hand, struggles with being the youngest in the family. Always having his older siblings to look after him, Mouse isn’t used to having to do things on his own. It doesn’t help that his mother frequently falls into depression either.
We have the setup for one tragedy after another but P.D. does a wonderful job at highlighting the good in the lives of these teens. This story could have easily become dreadful and difficult to get through but I found it as intriguing as many of the action and fantasy books I’ve read.
My most favorite thing about this book is that it’s all about minority characters. We just don’t have enough of them in the literary realm, in my opinion. As I mentioned before, the story takes place on a Native reservation so I had a good look at life in another culture. I myself am part Native American, Lakota Sioux from my father’s side and Chickasaw from my mother’s to be exact. So I was pleasantly surprised to see characters that I could relate to. Reservations pepper the US but not many Americans get such a close look at their lifestyle and culture. I greatly appreciated that aspect of this book which deserves five-stars all on its own.
P.D. walks us through Nadie’s tragedy of losing a relative. I really can’t imagine going through such an event in my life but I think this author truly captures the importance of family and the toll a sudden death can have on it. Our characters are far from perfect in this story, they struggle at almost every turn but their reactions to the events and the way they handle themselves is very believable and realistic. Each character stays in line with their personalities and brings the proper emotion to each scene.
I thought the development of Mouse’s and Nadie’s characters was great. I liked Mouse a little more than Nadie but that’s because I’m a sucker for struggling teen boys lol. I thought his struggles and his journey to ‘manhood’ were well explained and excellently written. Mouse’s part in the book, particularly his desire to be seen as a man, is something that stems directly from his Native roots so for me it was more of a personal enjoyment.
Nadie’s desire to leave the reservation was something I struggled with as a reader. Being Native myself, I never got the chance to live on a reservation like this character so her entire ordeal tugged on the strings of my heart. P.D. did a wonderful job highlighting the ups and downs of a Native’s decision to leave the reservation. For people whose lives are so closely intertwined with their tribe, this decision isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s not like moving out of mom’s and dad’s basement and finding your own apartment. It’s abandoning everything and everyone you know. Your family is left behind, your language, your food, your religion, your entire culture is wiped away. I think P.D. did an excellent job at bringing these struggles to light in a way any reader could understand and relate to—no matter their ethnicity or culture.
My hat goes off to P.D. Workman for bringing such an amazing story to the market with emotional detail and intriguing characters. I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone.