Dakota and the American Dream

Fiction - General
156 Pages
Reviewed on 01/03/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

SAMEER GARACH was born in Houston in 1986 and earned a BA in Mathematics with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. During graduate studies in quantitative finance, he developed a passion for writing and subsequently wrote his first novel, "The Bull Option," a unique and cunning financial thriller that moves at a breakneck pace. He later went on to write "Dakota and the American Dream," a charming and hilarious corporate satire that entertains adults as well as children.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

In Dakota and the American Dream by Sameer Garach, as ten-year-old Dakota is spending the day in the park with his mother, he suddenly spots a Greenback Squirrel rushing past him with his Fitbit. Dakota's curiosity leads him to follow the squirrel into a hole in a tree and enter a weird world where nothing is as it first seems. He soon realizes that the Greenback Squirrel is not the only animal that can talk as he stumbles across the Creature Company and soon finds himself in the strange position of being interviewed for a job. As Dakota tries to make sense of this peculiar place called the New World, he learns the rules of the Blame Game and the Rat Race. Dakota makes the acquaintance of many characters, including a Black Rat who faces discrimination because of the color of his fur, a Jenny who has issues with her body image, and an 800-pound Gorilla. As Dakota spends more time in the Creature Company, he learns more about what the American Dream means: the ego, the fear of losing your job for no reason, the fight for survival when you are the wrong gender or age, and what happiness truly means.

What stands out most of all about this very intelligently written book is the descriptive narrative. The author writes beautifully, which makes all of your senses come to life. The characters are unique and diverse, and their dialogue really showcases their personalities, especially the Black Rat. There are some wonderful comedy moments throughout, my favorite being the scene by the Looking Glass between Jenny and Dakota, but when you stop laughing, you realize that a very important message has been subtly threaded into the scene. The entire book highlights the ridiculous rules of the corporate workplace and the office politics that either hold people back or propel them into managerial positions according to how 'they play the game'. There are so many messages throughout Dakota and the American Dream by Sameer Garach that will make you ponder on the real meaning of success, happiness and being true to yourself. Highly recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

Dakota and the American Dream by Sameer Garach is a modern rendition of Alice in Wonderland where our protagonist, ten-year-old Dakota, experiences a peculiar and spectacular world. He is sitting next to his mother on a park bench when he suddenly falls asleep and has the strangest dream he has ever had. He finds himself in a place that is similar to the real world; the only difference is that he sees it in a new light with some unique characters. From the 800-pound Gorilla to the Big Boss, Dakota experiences adult life as most Americans do and realizes that being a grown-up is not as fun as he thought it would be.

Dakota and the American Dream by Sameer Garach is a short yet very entertaining novella. This book can be a good lesson for young children and for adults as well, who will definitely enjoy the satirical narrative. The author talks about the American dream but in a very fantastical setup where anything is possible. Instead of the whimsical world of Alice, the reader is transported into a world where every adult lives and tries to survive. From socializing during happy hour to loving coffee breaks to surviving discrimination at work, this book covers everything in a classy yet fascinating way. The author has a very witty sense of humor, and it shows in the narrative. This book may be short, but it packs a punch that will blow you away.

K.C. Finn

Dakota and the American Dream is a charming and satirical work of general fiction penned by author Sameer Garach. Styled in an Alice in Wonderland type of fantasy escapism, the book can be enjoyed by older children and adult readers alike for its multi-level approach to storytelling. On the one hand, the tale involves ten-year-old Dakota falling asleep, and following a playful squirrel into a strange world where he encounters a host of new characters and their issues. On the other hand, those characters and their problems represent the social, political, and economic hardships of being in contemporary America.

Part parody, part fantasy adventure, this intelligent and delightful novella has much to offer its readers if they are willing to take author Sameer Garach’s hand and undergo a surreal journey into the bizarre, yet familiar. Central character Dakota’s wide-eyed innocence of the world of the American rat race makes him the perfect foil for Garach’s comedic and satirical take on life, weight, work and so many prevalent issues of the day. The Gorilla and the Big Boss, to name but a few, capture perfectly an allegory for the stresses and trials that we put on ourselves as adults, which can often be viewed by children as silly problems that shouldn’t really exist. It’s the beauty of this contrast that gives the work its charm throughout, and the plot winds in a surreal but entertaining fashion back towards reality. Overall, Dakota and the American Dream is an ingenious and fun work of satirical fantasy fiction.