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Reviewed by Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite
Owen Thomas' This is the Dream is a collection of ten ingenious, realistic, and deeply engrossing stories involving characters who navigate through challenges and endeavor to make sense of life in their unique environments and circumstances. One of the stories, Island Santa, involves a 12-year-old who believes in Santa so much that she would argue intensely with her father about his realness. Failure To Thrive projects two friends—a novelist and a journalist—who constantly write to each other about their deepest desires and worries from different parts of the world. In Hating George Clooney, laid-off Danny envies his next-door neighbor's glamorous life so much that he plans to rob a convenience store. The ten stories in the book depict the value of being present as opposed to glamorizing the future or a dreamlike reality.
When it comes to building captivating stories around complex, perceptive characters, Owen Thomas makes it look like a walk in the park. From one story to another, I was completely drawn into the book and didn't want it to end. The book's calm pace goes well with its bountiful thrills, which are best savored and enjoyed unhurriedly like a slow-melting Popsicle. I couldn't get enough of the artistic language and the inclusion of several imagination-inducing similes, like "And his eyes were like little bits of sea glass that kept disappearing behind the wave of his eyelids." It's quite hard to pick a favorite, but I seriously enjoyed reading the letters between Katja and June because I found the conflict between the dangers of rushing into relationships and not wanting to be alone quite relatable. This is the Dream is such a gem! You should definitely read it.