Updated: Jun 19
Book Tittle: I Am My Mother's Wildest Dream: How an African Teen Broke Her Silence and Fought Cultural Norms to Live the "American Dream" by Nyajuok T. Doluony, CPT.
U.S. Army, Retired
Reviewed by Chiokthiang Nhial; Writer & Avid Reader
From the genesis of its first chapter, the book speaks of realities regarding the lives of South Sudanese who became victims of tragic wars in which many fled their homes and sought refuge in U.N. camps. In this book, the story of South Sudanese suffering in those camps (Itang in Maiwut to Dimma in Ethiopia) is based on facts and true-life stories. I believe the author's mother speaks of dreams coming true and is living a life of happiness after learning that her daughter made her wildest dream come true.
The books narrate some facts about how a person could become strong even in hard times when others would feel weak. The author didn't grow strong only in America; her sacrificial growth was early in the refugee camp in Dimma. Culturally, the author's mother taught her how to make stones "Dool" that Nuer uses for cooking, and she was prepared for marriage and childbearing by the mother. Sadly, her being prepared for marriage and childbearing didn't match with what her mother expected that she would later in some years be impregnated in a lifetime and encounter forced marriage, a marriage arrangement without her consent which describes the prevention of a girl child's education and rights.
As a reviewer of this great inspiring book, I would like to say that whatever we think we become, we will surely be in a position to obtain our thoughts, and at the end of the day, we will correct them right. In her early education in the refugee camp, after being taught science, the author learned about parts of the human body, organs, etc. She began to dream of becoming a doctor while her dear father, on their way to America, dreamed of her becoming an accountant. This denotes that our dreams come from our subconscious mind and that none will dream for us, nor could anyone else choose the right path on our behalf. The author dreamed of becoming a doctor, and in not more than 15 years, she got attracted to studying nursing and happened to be a nurse in the U.S. Army. If one could dream on our behalf, the author's father would have seen his dream, which he planted in his daughter's ears, comes true.
Chiotchiang Nhial Seen here reading in his Juba, South Sudan Quarter
I have read many books that explain and narrate girl child's education and rights, and this one, "I Am My Mother's Wildest Dreams," it's one of the books that need to be offered to any girl child out there who couldn't speak for herself and raise her voice. The book not only talks of the disadvantages of forced marriage, it even echoes louder about how men could refrain from robbing women of their rights and free will.
The author's story taught me something sensible. One day when I become a father, I must make sure my daughters have their rights provided. The right to offer them their choices and heart desires. In the future, if one of my daughters chooses not to be married, my culture will not act beneath my power as a husband to force my kids into a marriage they don't wish to be in.
Like many great books, this book doesn't only encourage women or girls; it must be read by fathers and mothers too. Reading this book to the end, one might find the strength to overcome the fear of the unknown. Many are affected by trauma, depression, and anxiety, but this 200 plus pages book will teach one how to stay strong even in the middle of all these painful feelings. The book would heal and rehab those affected by trauma who couldn't find their way out. Many should read this book if need be because it teaches readers how to believe in themselves.
The book reminded me of my best friend, a Shilluk I shared a class with in 2010. The pal was named Ramadan; after lessons, we would go in numbers and eat together, it became our habit to go out with our classmates during break time, and they would refer to us as the duo whose pockets never run dry. After we were done with the final examination and the school was closed, I never for once saw Ramadan again. I would sometimes wonder what is he doing. Did he join university like I do or branched in a different route? Like Nyajuok, her best friend first introduced to her how foreigners could be befriended just like any other person in different corners of the world. Putuma, a Somalian whose kindness helped the author learn how to eat ice cream, this one tells a lot about the missing friends we once in a lifetime shared things in common, and we have never had the chance to meet again.
The author was eloquent in her writing style; one of the positive impacts this book played on me as a reader is how she constructed her ink into powerful words that reading couldn't give you a hard time digesting. The book should be distributed to our country's libraries for future readings. I want to narrate every inch of this book, but because I also need others to be inspired by it just as it offered me vigor as one of my favorite books, I won't highlight all of its nature but rather point out what I consumed in it.
The book describes the author's life journey of being a refugee to an immigrant who would later shine the light on every refugee and immigrant trying to lose hope of believing in themselves. There are wonders the refugees and immigrants should offer the world. Living a poor life won't result in another more imperfect life; if the world provides them chances to be free, they could free many hopeless people who never heard of how life from scratch could be turned into treasure when the world has to offer support to every nature. America is a land of freedom and honey; they should take it from this book that there's no immigrant without dreams; many of them end up with blurry dreams, but most immigrants across Europe and America need support and hospitality when given; in them, the immigrants have many things to offer the world.
Last but not least, the author illustrates that there's always light at the end of every tunnel. In broken relationships, there are hopes to repair every spoiled spare part that moves the relationship from bad to good.
Talk of self-belief, resilience, confidence, and patience; in this book, when reading, a reader will learn that the author went through a lot, that the words mentioned above were present, and she used them to fight for herself till the end of her battles. She fought many tiresome battles that exposed how a woman should be free and responsible and act like any stronger man. We heard of wars, and some of us witnessed wars in our country; from her childhood, the author learned a lot of negativity a war would inflict on people. As a mother, she didn't stop there; she sacrificed herself to be on the front line, where bullets and heavy missiles were the ringtones of the day. Like other brave men, she acted like one. This alone describes her books as having many faces; it speak of strength, breaking the silence and uttering the voice of freedom, getting out of your comfort zone, being dependent, and being steady in every shaking situation.
Finally, I would like to conclude that every child, particularly girls whose dreams are deterred from reaching their climax, should buy a copy of this book and find some steps to breaking the norms and captivity of cultures that chain their freedom and rights. The book also shines a light on every aspiring writer needing help figuring out where and how to start expressing their stories. It can also be used to advocate for women's and girls' rights, the right to education, and the right to choose what/who they love.
The writer can be reached via his email
Author, Nyaju0k T. Doluony
Virginia Maryland, USA