Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Well-Read Wednesday: The Dreamer


"Neftali, do you not have enough old keys in your collection?"

"Keys unlock doors, Laurita. One can never have too many."

This book was recommended to me by an amazing person and writer, Lisa Hale. Then it took me about a year to pick it up and read it. She was right. The imagery, the figurative language, and the story is beautiful. So rarely do we find books so beautifully written with as much careful thought given to the language used to tell the story as the story itself.

"The Dreamer" is the fictional biography of Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda. The author gives us a glimpse into the life of a young boy, Neftali Reyes, as a quiet, shy, sickly boy with a demanding father who tries to squelch his son's quiet unfocused daydreaming and his scrawling words on paper. The boy has a fascination with words, the world around him, and physical objects: pinecones, stones, feathers, old keys. There are poems here too, in the book, and prose that echoes poetry. We journey with Neftali: fearing his father, observing the world, learning, and growing older until Neftali has the courage to write. With the pen name of Pablo Neruda he finally becomes his own person and finds his own voice. And what a beautiful voice it is.

I love how the author includes some of Neruda's poety at the end of the book. The illustrations are beautiful. The book has a beautiful tone to it. It is one of those "quiet" books we hear about. The ones many don't appreciate or pick up because they aren't provocative enough, create enough buzz on twitter or cause us to turn pages fast enough. This book isn't a page turner.

It's a heart changer.
Read it.

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