When ten-year-old Dakota becomes bored sitting next to his mother on a park bench, he drifts off and falls into a dream in which he follows a squirrel down a game of hopscotch until he finds himself in a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.
The satirical tale plays with many themes characteristic of America and its corporate culture as seen through the expert eyes of a child, giving the story popularity with adults as well as children. From a rudimentary perspective, the novella is about the trials and tribulations of growing up, or overweight, or old. But from another more complex one, it concerns ridiculous points of sharp humor, such as the American Dream, the rat race, racism in the workplace, the corporate ladder and hierarchy, office romance, an unhealthy love affair with body image, the obsession with prescription medication, the work and coffee culture, the constant fear of losing one’s job, the importance of golf in career success, happy hour and team-building exercises, age discrimination, and the diversity of dialect found in the United States.
To define the charm of the Dakota book—with those wonderful eccentric characters the Greenback Squirrel, the White Mouse, the Black Rat, the Bigwig, the Chairman, the Big Boss, the Westchester Whelp, the 800-pound Gorilla, etc.—as merely an adolescent arousal would convey a lack of proper understanding, for it really comprises a satire on language, a corporate allegory, a reflection of contemporary history, and a parody of twenty-first-century children’s literature.
Chasing our own Dream
Texas author Sameer Garach earned his degree in Mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin and graduate studies in quantitative finance. Embellishing his career with writing, Sameer made his literary debut with THE BULL OPTION, exploring Wall Street in a financial thriller, and now he turns to satire in this engaging new venture, DAKOTA AND THE AMERICAN DREAM. His intended audience – ages 8 – 18, but his keen wit and style makes this a very satisfying outing (read ‘revelation!’) for adults!
One of the many aspects of Sameer’s writing that makes his book so enjoyable is the quality of his writing – skilled, informed, imaginative and rollicking! Many of us wonder about how our new level of contemporary communication vis-à-vis the high-tech influence will affect such treasures as “books” (those icons of wisdom and entertainment that actually can be placed on a shelf for frequent and continued perusal). With this fine novel (‘novella’) the author assures us that that beloved tradition will continue. He manages to tell a story (think, Alice in Wonderland), infuse it with satire and parody, cover those omnipresent topics of life such as aging and other things that ‘need fixing,’ and in doing offers a platform of entertaining and yet thought provoking wisdom.
To sample a touch of his prose, ‘Dakota was tire of playing catch with his mother at the park, and wanting to rest, he cuddled up to her on a bench, careful not to tip over the coffee cup she sipped at. He glanced at the laptop she was working on, once or twice. But it had no games to ply or movies to watch, and Dakota thought, ”What is the use of a computer if it has no games or movies?” Just a hint of the persona of Dakota and the story begins.
Sameer wisely condenses the plot (and the messages therein) for his readers: ‘When ten-year-old Dakota becomes bored sitting next to his mother on a park bench, he drifts off and falls into a dream in which he follows a squirrel down a game of hopscotch until he finds himself in a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.
The satirical tale plays with many themes characteristic of America and its corporate culture as seen through the expert eyes of a child - the trials and tribulations of growing up, or overweight, or old, and ridiculous points of sharp humor, such as the American Dream, the rat race, racism in the workplace, the corporate ladder and hierarchy, office romance, an unhealthy love affair with body image, the obsession with prescription medication, the work and coffee culture, the constant fear of losing one’s job, the importance of golf in career success, happy hour and team-building exercises, age discrimination, and the diversity of dialect found in the United States - a satire on language, a corporate allegory, a reflection of contemporary history, and a parody of twenty-first-century children’s literature.’ (Condensed a bit).
This new book marks the arrival of a significant new talent on the literary scene – a young man with a solid future, whose keen mind offers fine concepts while entertaining us briskly. Very Highly Recommended.
"Dakota and the American Dream" is a charming and satirical work of general fiction penned by author Sameer Garach. Styled in an "Alice in Wonderland" type of fantasy escapism, the book can be enjoyed by older children and adult readers alike for its multi-level approach to storytelling. On the one hand, the tale involves ten-year-old Dakota falling asleep, and following a playful squirrel into a strange world where he encounters a host of new characters and their issues. On the other hand, those characters and their problems represent the social, political, and economic hardships of being in contemporary America.
Part parody, part fantasy adventure, this intelligent and delightful novella has much to offer its readers if they are willing to take author Sameer Garach’s hand and undergo a surreal journey into the bizarre, yet familiar. Central character Dakota’s wide-eyed innocence of the world of the American rat race makes him the perfect foil for Garach’s comedic and satirical take on life, weight, work and so many prevalent issues of the day. The Gorilla and the Big Boss, to name but a few, capture perfectly an allegory for the stresses and trials that we put on ourselves as adults, which can often be viewed by children as silly problems that shouldn’t really exist. It’s the beauty of this contrast that gives the work its charm throughout, and the plot winds in a surreal but entertaining fashion back towards reality. Overall, "Dakota and the American Dream" is an ingenious and fun work of satirical fantasy fiction.
In "Dakota and the American Dream" by Sameer Garach, as ten-year-old Dakota is spending the day in the park with his mother, he suddenly spots a Greenback Squirrel rushing past him with his Fitbit. Dakota's curiosity leads him to follow the squirrel into a hole in a tree and enter a weird world where nothing is as it first seems. He soon realizes that the Greenback Squirrel is not the only animal that can talk as he stumbles across the Creature Company and soon finds himself in the strange position of being interviewed for a job. As Dakota tries to make sense of this peculiar place called the New World, he learns the rules of the Blame Game and the Rat Race. Dakota makes the acquaintance of many characters, including a Black Rat who faces discrimination because of the color of his fur, a Jenny who has issues with her body image, and an 800-pound Gorilla. As Dakota spends more time in the Creature Company, he learns more about what the American Dream means: the ego, the fear of losing your job for no reason, the fight for survival when you are the wrong gender or age, and what happiness truly means.
What stands out most of all about this very intelligently written book is the descriptive narrative. The author writes beautifully, which makes all of your senses come to life. The characters are unique and diverse, and their dialogue really showcases their personalities, especially the Black Rat. There are some wonderful comedy moments throughout, my favorite being the scene by the Looking Glass between Jenny and Dakota, but when you stop laughing, you realize that a very important message has been subtly threaded into the scene. The entire book highlights the ridiculous rules of the corporate workplace and the office politics that either hold people back or propel them into managerial positions according to how 'they play the game'. There are so many messages throughout "Dakota and the American Dream" by Sameer Garach that will make you ponder on the real meaning of success, happiness and being true to yourself. Highly recommended.
"Dakota and the American Dream" by Sameer Garach is a modern rendition of "Alice in Wonderland" where our protagonist, ten-year-old Dakota, experiences a peculiar and spectacular world. He is sitting next to his mother on a park bench when he suddenly falls asleep and has the strangest dream he has ever had. He finds himself in a place that is similar to the real world; the only difference is that he sees it in a new light with some unique characters. From the 800-pound Gorilla to the Big Boss, Dakota experiences adult life as most Americans do and realizes that being a grown-up is not as fun as he thought it would be.
"Dakota and the American Dream" by Sameer Garach is a short yet very entertaining novella. This book can be a good lesson for young children and for adults as well, who will definitely enjoy the satirical narrative. The author talks about the American dream but in a very fantastical setup where anything is possible. Instead of the whimsical world of Alice, the reader is transported into a world where every adult lives and tries to survive. From socializing during happy hour to loving coffee breaks to surviving discrimination at work, this book covers everything in a classy yet fascinating way. The author has a very witty sense of humor, and it shows in the narrative. This book may be short, but it packs a punch that will blow you away.
Inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Dakota and the American Dream (Mare Press) by Sameer Garach is set in modern times and takes aim at the classic idea of the American Dream in the context of Corporate America.