Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Published April 12, 2016 by HarperTeen, 336 pp.
Vibrantly offbeat and utterly original, Lucy Keating’s debut novel combines the unconventional romance of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with the sweetness and heart of Jenny Han.
For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.
But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.
Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?
How goes it?
I am not even going to lie: my favorite parts of this are the last bits where Max and Alice are just two saps when they profess their love for each other – the multi-color leaves and Oreo cake is a great touch. What can I say, I like to live vicariously through fictional characters, hah.
Dreamology, overall, does feel a bit dreamy – in a sense that it’s kind of detached? Like it doesn’t feel grounded and everything just seems like you’re watching/reading it through some sort of filter. This is perfect, however, if you want something to reaffirm your belief that dreams do come true, and your dream guy does exist.
Dreamology revolves around Alice, a girl who ever since she can remember has had Max. They’d go to museums, elephant rides in Thailand, sliding down staircases – basically do what young couples in love do. Problem is, Max is just a figment of her very active imagination while she sleeps. At least, that’s what she thinks – until she and her father move to a new town, and in her new school, Max is there. Alice can’t believe it – he’s an actual person. However, this Max doesn’t remember her, and doesn’t act at all like the Max in her dreams. What’s a girl to do? Add to that the weird occurrences that happen every now and then – walls start looking like cushions, the ground starts rippling like water, and the stars turn into multicoloured lights, and Alice has her hands full.
I honestly can’t remember what I was expecting when I started reading this, so you could say that I went into this blind. I find this okay – because this is a mellow book, like it reads really calmly. Does that make sense? Like there’s no big upheaval, or misunderstanding, which I really like, since I like drama-free reads – but basically, this book is really chill.
I like that Alice is persistent – she has a single-minded focus on finding out what’s going on, because how come she remembers Max but he doesn’t remember her? What is going on that elements of her dreams are suddenly manifesting in real life? Is she going nuts? And her circle, albeit small, is supportive and relatively drama-free. All around, a pleasant cast of characters.
I thought that this dealt with the dreams vs. reality, growing up bit kind of well. In the end I think it was smart of Alice to face her long-buried feelings regarding her mother head-on, and see that even if reality isn’t as smooth-sailing as her dreams, the people in it are real. She can’t keep clinging onto the dreams forever.
However, my main problem with this is the fact that Alice is so wrapped up in her dreams. She’s a solitary girl, one with a limited circle – her friend Sophie, her dad, her dog Jerry, and that’s about it, so to a certain extent, I understand how she clings to her dreams and Max. But it got to a point that I wanted to shake her and say move on, child! Move on! Because clearly Max does not want to remember her.
Another problem I had is that Max has a girlfriend, who is a genuinely nice person, and when later on it’s out in the open that Max and Alice have a sorta-kinda relationship, Celeste, the girlfriend, takes it in stride. If she’s okay with it I’m not. This makes me kind of uncomfortable because it is kind of cheating – I get that Max and Alice are endgame, but the fact that Celeste became collateral damage on the way to their road of becoming a couple makes me go, “Eeeehh.” I wish Max had stuck to his guns when he told Alice early on in the book that Celeste was the one who was there for him when he was at his lowest point and that he can’t leave her for someone that heretofore only existed in his dreams. But then we’d have a completely different book on our hands.
Overall, if you can set aside those 2 issues I had, then this is a book that’ll make you go after your dreams, and remind yourself that yes, s/he is out there, I just have to find them! And reaffirm your belief that yes, there are happily ever afters, even if the road taken to that isn’t the smoothest.
It’s okay – there’s a happily ever after, and I’d read it if I want something light and fluffy again, but I have issues with the actions of some of the characters.