Title: Book of Dreams
Author: Traci Harding
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Fantasy, Indigenous Australians, Spirituality
5th sentence, 74th page: Party!
Welcome to the Book of Dreams
It has been brought to our attention that you seem to be completely lost. If you wish to come to know what it is that constantly eludes you in life… I am your transport to seek within.
Kyle is a young man with no future, and no past. Orphaned from a young age, he uses tough upbringing as an excuse for his lack of direction in life. But a mysterious parcel is about to change his view of himself, his parents, and the world in which he lives.
An old leather bound book, intricately embossed with creatures and strange beings, is left on Kyle’s doorstep with no card or note attached. The book issues Kyle a personal challenge – to finish reading the book and face the innermost truth about himself, or forfeit any chance of finding his true destiny.
If the book was left on your doorstep and you had nothing to lose, could you resist reading on?
I often find it difficult to find a good, solid story that has an Indigenous Australian lead. In fact, Book of Dreams has so far been the only such story. I’m constantly searching for new ones, and the fact that Harding was able to write a tale that paints a minority group in a good light and highlights some of their daily difficulties was amazing. Yet, although the Indigenous aspect of this writing is phenomenal, it is also the spiritual knowledge that is imparted throughout that has made me fall in love with this novel again and again and again.
Harding writes some very subtle, yet insightful tales of our own power to govern change in our lives. The overarching tale within Book of Dreams is about taking your past, present and future and gaining control over it. Although Kyle is dealt an incredibly crappy hand in life, he is able to (eventually) understand that these experiences cannot be a basis on which to build a horrible existence. Bitterness and anger at the past is not a way to continue to live, and it isn’t until he accepts the past for what it is and begins the process of healing that he is able to find a new life, love and reason for being.
I’ve studied Native Title in Australia through a few of my University courses, and it is always a fascinating area and discussion. Harding’s grasp of this legislation is great, and her bibliography at the end of the story attests to the fact that she has done her research in regards to this sensitive topic. Yet, it is the fact that she is able to find a way in her happy ending to re-grant rights to traditional lands when native title has been extinguished that is most enjoyable. After all, who doesn’t love a happy ending?
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