Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Todd the Dreamer by Bonnie Rozanski

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 girl friend 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?

Both a fast-paced psychological thriller with a solid grounding in science and a darkly comic novel with a cast of exuberant, funny characters, TODD THE DREAMER is, above all, a story of where reality ends and dreams begin.

Book-Savvy's take:
Todd is a self-proclaimed "Loser." He can't seem to keep a job, doesn't like his girlfriend, really doesn't care much about anything at all. As his girlfriend and Mother both persistently pester him about what he's doing with his life, Todd notices an advertisement for Sleep Study participants. He views this as a win/win situation= he makes an extra income/he spends less time at home with his girlfriend. Bonus - he gets PAID to SLEEP!
The coordinator of the study takes quite a shine to Todd. He quickly becomes their "Star Patient" because of his ability to achieve lucidity, a dream state where you are aware you are dreaming and can subsequently control certain aspects of your dream.
As the study progresses, Todd begins to have some eerie, inexplicable side effects, out-of-body-experiences. With no answers from the doctor, he brushes them off. Eventually the study progresses and Todd is asked if he would be willing to undergo another experiment; allow them to take an MRI of his brain while he is in this lucid state of dreaming so they can attempt to map what a dream really is. The risks are minimal and the contribution to science immeasurable, so he agrees. Things take a deadly turn.
The rest you'll have to read for yourself. This story was unique, interesting, scientifically sound, and unpredictable. I really wish it had been longer, although my family was happy when I finished, so I would stop ignoring them :)
There were some situations that were more mature in nature, so I wouldn't recommend letting your 13 year old read this one, but older Teens, absolutely, College-aged-without a doubt. My personal favorite was the ending. I had a feeling what was coming, but I REALLY had no clue of the depth and magnitude of the labyrinth-like surprise!

Huge thanks to the author, Bonnie Rozanski, for sending me a copy of this amazing adventure! I sincerely enjoyed every sentence! 

1 comment:

  1. This one sounds fascinating! I'm going to be adding it to my wishlist :)