Monday, May 2, 2011

Review: Todd The Dreamer

Todd The Dreamer
By: Bonnie Rozanski

Summary via Amazon:
Lucid dreaming (def): The rare state in which a dreamer knows it’s a dream.

In lucid dreams, you can change the storyline to whatever you want.
- Like to fly over the rooftops? Go right ahead.
- Kill off your demanding boss? Do so with impunity.
- Enjoy awe-inspiring sex with a gorgeous someone who in real life doesn’t even know you exist? Do I even need to ask?

Todd Goldman is an ordinary young man. He has tried his hand at various low-level jobs and succeeded at nothing. All his life, he has let life lead him, not the other way around…until the day he answers an advertisement for a sleep lab, and enrolls in a study of lucid dreams.

Todd finds he is a quick study at lucidity, and increasingly learns to control the content of his dreams. In contrast, unfortunately, his life is an uncontrollable mess. He fights with his girlfriend and struggles to gain some independence from his parents. He loses his day job. The beautiful technician at the sleep lab thinks he’s a jerk.

However, in his lucid dreams, and in the out-of-body experiences that follow, Todd is able to create the life he wants, a situation so seductive that his dreams begin to take over his life.

But then, of course, what is the reader to believe? Is Todd indeed out-of-body despite the doctors’ insistence it is just an unusual dream? Is the chief researcher truly willing to forfeit Todd’s life if it means getting good pictures of his brain? And do the sleep doctors in fact plan to lock him away in a psychiatric ward?

In this story we follow Todd who is unbearably boring and ordinary. In a main character this is terrible but I understand what the author was trying to point out, Todd's life is run by what the world throws at him not by any drive on his part. Todd in this story doesn't make any decisions of any kind until the sleep clinic is involved and then its as if he is addicted.

As a psychological book it was very interesting because it makes you ask many questions and brings to light many different psychological issues. What is real? What is the dream? Is it paranoia if they are really out to get you? Are they actually trying? etc. I also enjoyed the medical ethics portion of this book. Is there a point when a study goes too far? Shouldn't the doctors know when the patient is taking something too far and know to stop it?

Overall, I give this book a one because it was dry at too many parts and the characters are one dimensional. What kept me reading to the end was the psychological aspects not the actual story. This book is similar to a case study but with some flights of fancy thrown in. In the future I would love to see this author round out her characters and make their situations/decisions more complex.

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