Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Dreamer by Pat Muñoz-Ryan

Neftali Reyes grew up as a sickly child who possessed a gift that his father did not value. A hard man who never showed affection, Senor Reyes hoped his son would become something of value - doctor, lawyer, businessman. Instead, Neftali found comfort in his pen and the words that flowed effortlessy onto his pages. Disgracing his father, he became a poet - "a thief that lived off of other people" - and denounced the government that used its laws to murder people.

Munoz-Ryan uses beautiful language and flowing images to give the reader a glimpse into the life of Neftali Reyes (a.k.a. Pablo Neruda), and the sacrifices he had to make to follow his dreams. Although the story is a work of fiction, she incorporates factual events and characters to add substance to the ambiguous details surrounding Neruda's life.

Overall, this book drags in a lot of places, and uses too much symbolism to make sense to young readers (without guidance).

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