The Law of Dreams: A Novel

The Law of Dreams - Peter Behrens It still surprises me that this particular story of a boy who travels from his home in Ireland to America is actually based on the author's family history. It makes it even more intriguing that its the story of one so young that has to overcome so many trials in life and figure out the meaning of what it truly means to be alive."Law of Dreams" takes place during the Great Hunger of 1847, where a young boy named Fergus O'Brien is displaced from his home and goes on a journey through several places to find a new life for himself. Along the way, he meets a colorful cast of characters in a combination of love and loss so potent that one can't help but follow Fergus's sense of loss yet progressive determination. I found it quite the jarring account, especially with many of the situations he faces over the course of his journey, and the swings of emotion that couple it.Behrens has a beautiful narrative style that transitions from thought to descriptions of Fergus's experiences. Granted, some of this language might read a bit choppy for some, but I didn't have any trouble following it. What I did have trouble with were some of the slower points of the book dragged its heels a little more than than I wanted, especially in the latter third of the book when Fergus travels to Canada. The characters that Fergus encounters are vividly brought to life and significance in the boy's journey, though some of them have possibilities that aren't always explored. Still, it's a minor quibble for a story on this grand of a scale. I had a hard time deciding what I should rank it, because while it's a captivating story - I'll admit I struggled through some of the slower parts of the book, particularly when the pacing could have flowed a bit better than what it did (I didn't have a problem with either Phoebe or Luke's arcs, but Molly's somehow felt a little shaky to me). In the end, I thought Fergus's character was that which drove the book along, and I found the ending to be a satisfying one. I would hesitate to make a rec for it, because I don't think anyone would be captivated by the subject matter (which sometimes is quite graphic and unerringly blunt) or as enamored with the style of storytelling as I was.Overall score: 3/5