Biographies Book

Review of the book “Dreams of my father”

“Dreams From My Father” is a moving story about President Obama’s early years. It focuses on the breed and its heritage. It is the journey of a young man who seeks to discover himself in his roots. Along the way, there are friends and challenges to spur him on. “Dreams From My Father” is an elegant and compelling read.

Composed in 1996, Barak Obama reveals his roots, his discoveries and the impressions left on him. The book begins with Obama as a young boy living in Hawaii with his mother and parents. He has no memories of his father, only stories told by his mother and grandparents. Obama comes from a mixed heritage – a white mother and a black father who lives in Kenya. His mother is open-minded, idealistic, naïve in one way, worldly in another. His grandparents love him unconditionally. As a young boy, his mother married a man from Indonesia and they went to live there. Obama speaks fondly of his stepfather and learns many life lessons from him, but unfortunately his mother’s relationship with his stepfather does not last. His mother sends him back to Hawaii to live with his grandparents so he can attend a prestigious Hawaiian school. Soon, his mother and sister move back to Hawaii, but he stays with his grandparents, which gives him a sense of consistency. He learns of his grandfather’s strengths and weaknesses, but never really sees him as the father figure he seeks.

Obama has a meeting with his father when he was ten years old in Hawaii. Obama is a little impressed, a little overwhelmed. His father’s visit doesn’t last long and leaves Obama with more questions than answers.

The book then shifts to coverage of Obama’s life in Chicago as a community organizer. It’s hard work that’s rarely rewarding, but Obama is giving it his all. Then a relative from Kenya calls to tell him that his father has passed away, but Obama isn’t quite sure what to make of that or how to react. A few weeks later, his Kenyan half-sister, Auma, contacted him. Auma gives him insight into his father’s life in Kenya. Obama is intrigued by Auma’s life and wants to know more about their father. Before leaving community organization to attend Harvard Law School, he made arrangements to visit Auma in Kenya.

In Kenya, Obama discovers a family he didn’t even know. His father had at least four wives, and Obama has a slew of siblings who live in their father’s shadow. Obama and Auma visit one of their grandfather’s wives, “Granny”. She tells him the stories of Obama’s father and grandfather. It’s a compelling story of two people, and it helps define the aspects of Obama’s self and his legacy that he was looking for.

“Dreams From My Father” is an engaging read. Sometimes wordy, Obama’s personal stories are heartwarming and easily connect with readers. The book defines the “courage” behind a man – and a president.

Review of the book “Dreams of my father”
Written by: Barak Obama
Press of the 3 Rivers
ISBN: 978-1-4000-8277-3
4.5 stars

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