Monday, January 27, 2020

Book Review: 'Dakota and the American Dream' by Sameer Garach

Dakota and the American Dream by Sameer Garach

Chasing our own Dream

Texas author Sameer Garach earned his degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin and graduate studies in quantitative finance. Embellishing his career with writing, Sameer made his literary debut with THE BULL OPTION, exploring Wall Street in a financial thriller, and now he turns to satire in this engaging new venture, DAKOTA AND THE AMERICAN DREAM. His intended audience – ages 8 – 18, but his keen wit and style makes this a very satisfying outing (read ‘revelation!’) for adults!

One of the many aspects of Sameer’s writing that makes his book so enjoyable is the quality of his writing – skilled, informed, imaginative and rollicking! Many of us wonder about how our new level of contemporary communication vis-à-vis the high-tech influence will affect such treasures as “books” (those icons of wisdom and entertainment that actually can be placed on a shelf for frequent and continued perusal). With this fine novel (‘novella’) the author assures us that that beloved tradition will continue. He manages to tell a story (think, Alice in Wonderland), infuse it with satire and parody, cover those omnipresent topics of life such as aging and other things that ‘need fixing,’ and in doing offers a platform of entertaining and yet thought provoking wisdom.

To sample a touch of his prose, ‘Dakota was tire of playing catch with his mother at the park, and wanting to rest, he cuddled up to her on a bench, careful not to tip over the coffee cup she sipped at. He glanced at the laptop she was working on, once or twice. But it had no games to ply or movies to watch, and Dakota thought, ”What is the use of a computer if it has no games or movies?” Just a hint of the persona of Dakota and the story begins. 

Sameer wisely condenses the plot (and the messages therein) for his readers: ‘When ten-year-old Dakota becomes bored sitting next to his mother on a park bench, he drifts off and falls into a dream in which he follows a squirrel down a game of hopscotch until he finds himself in a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.
The satirical tale plays with many themes characteristic of America and its corporate culture as seen through the expert eyes of a child - the trials and tribulations of growing up, or overweight, or old, and ridiculous points of sharp humor, such as the American Dream, the rat race, racism in the workplace, the corporate ladder and hierarchy, office romance, an unhealthy love affair with body image, the obsession with prescription medication, the work and coffee culture, the constant fear of losing one’s job, the importance of golf in career success, happy hour and team-building exercises, age discrimination, and the diversity of dialect found in the United States - a satire on language, a corporate allegory, a reflection of contemporary history, and a parody of twenty-first-century children’s literature.’ (Condensed a bit).

This new book marks the arrival of a significant new talent on the literary scene – a young man with a solid future, whose keen mind offers fine concepts while entertaining us briskly. Very Highly Recommended.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.