Dreaming in English’ examines intercultural relationship

By Rachel Winter

Laura Fitzgerald’s new novel “Dreaming in English” gives readers
a glimpse into Tamila Soroush’s world of love and intercultural
marriage, as well as her growth in a newfound freedom that comes
with living in America.

Although Fitzgerald does well on conveying the struggle for
freedom through Tami’s eyes, she shows an immigrant’s typical,
cliched and almost idealized idea of the “American Dream.”

Conversely, Fitzgerald successfully displays intercultural
marriages take just as much work and understanding, if not more,
than “normal” non-intercultural marriages.

Even though a good narrative is given in Tami’s voice, there are
characters and scenes in the book that leave the reader feeling
unfocused or unsettled.

Although the book is far from perfect, it entertains while
giving insight to the price some are willing to pay for freedom.
Furthermore, it explores the growing trend of intercultural
relationships.

Tami is a 27-year-old woman from Iran who gets sent by her
parents to her sister’s home in Tucson, Arizona for an arranged
marriage.

Instead of marrying the man arranged for her, Tami marries Ike
Hanson, a blue-eyed American man who she falls in love with during
her few months of being in America.

Even though Ike is supposed to be a main point of interest to
readers, his character is one who lacks focus at different
points.

Throughout the book, Ike always talks about dreams he wants to
accomplish. Also, he is always willing to try out new things, such
as his dream of one day owning a coffee shop.

At the same time, Ike also tells Tami that he is sticking to the
path as far as their marriage is concerned.

Ike’s parents had previously offered to help pay for the coffee
shop Ike dreamed about owning, but since he is now married to Tami,
they refuse to help.

Ike goes back and forth between wanting the coffee shop to
caring more about his marriage with Tami.

Fitzgerald strives to show how Ike has an abundance of freedom,
symbolizing the freedom that Tami eventually comes to know and love
when she grows to be accustomed to American life and her
marriage.

Scenes concerning Ike’s mother (who disapproves of the marriage)
will leave readers unsettled, especially due to her overbearing
severity toward Tami.

“Dreaming in English” shows Tami adjusting to life and liberty
in America, as well as adjusting to being in an intercultural
marriage and the harsh realities that come with it.

Most of the other characters are side notes that help define
Tami and what she comes to love about herself and America.

All in all, the book is entertaining and ends on a sweet note,
although hardly any of the content comes as a surprise.

It gives some good insight into a woman who comes from a land of
no autonomy and cruel rules and then travels to a land of endless
freedom and opportunities.

Although Fitzgerald is American and may not seem like she has
any Iranian background, she does have a husband who is of Iranian
descent.

This helps give Fitzgerald an understanding and knowledge on the
subject of intercultural marriage, as well as an idea of how a
woman of Tami’s background would feel coming from Iran to
America.

Rating: 3/5

Dreaming in English

Courtesy of Laura Fitzgerald

Dreaming in English’ examines intercultural relationship

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