Dreaming / Edition 1

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In this bittersweet and beautifully written memoir, Carolyn See embarks on nothing less than a reevaluation of the American Dream. Although it features a clan in which dysfunction was something of a family tradition, Dreaming is no victim's story. With a wry humor and not a trace of self-pity, See writes of fights and breakups and hard times, but also of celebration and optimism in the face of adversity. The story of See's family speaks for the countless people who reached for the shining American vision, found it eluded their grasp, and then tried to make what they had glitter as best they could.

The award-winning author of Golden Days and The Rest Is Done With Mirrors now tells her life story and that of her family--one in which heavy drinking and, later, recreational drugs, were something of a family tradition. A fiercely funny and deeply empathetic book which shows that the wild life, for better and worse, has made us what we are. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Award-winning novelist (Golden Days; Making History) and book critic See has a pungent, earthily feminine style that has never been put to better use than in this saga of her clamorous, perpetually inebriated family. Daughter of a hard-drinking, charming show-business hanger-on and an equally hard-drinking hellion of a mother, See also went through two chaotic marriages, countless gallons of tequila and white wine and enough mind-altering substances to knock her sideways for most of a decade before settling down, with two miraculously surviving and equable daughters and her elderly English professor companion, to become the quirkily admirable writer she is today. Her sister Rose, enmeshed for years in a life of petty crime, drug-dealing and appalling men, was not so lucky. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, in-laws, all seemed somehow to be disappointed at what American (mostly Californian) life had to offer, and retreated into bottles, needles and pills. It all makes for wonderfully lively reading, but See's thesis that this is life for much of America's aspiring underclass doesn't quite ring true (perhaps it's simply that a preponderance of these goofily hope-addicted people wind up in California). And in the midst of all See's hard-headed, courageous and humorous observation, it is jarring to come across a paean to some of the more banal and outr of New Age gurus. What is lacking in the book, despite its many anecdotal pleasures and galloping readability, is any sense of a cultural context to Americans beyond a search for ways to feel better about themselves. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Without self-pity, novelist (Golden Days, LJ 9/15/86), English professor (UCLA), and book critic See here offers a sobering account of drug abuse in her family.
From Barnes & Noble
In this bittersweet memoir, the acclaimed author reevaluates how the elusive "American dream" has figured into her own life and her at-times dysfunctional family. "...a singular ode to the human spirit."-- William F. Buckley, Jr. B&W photos.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520204829
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 5/5/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 372
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Carolyn See is the author of five novels. She has a Ph.D in American literature from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she is an Adjunct Professor of English. Her awards include the Robert Kirsch Body of Work Award (1993) and a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2015

    Like nothing else


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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Open dreamspace

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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