I have been staring at the screen for the last fifteen minutes trying to find words to describe my reaction to ‘My Dreams Out In the Street’. Well, that for sure indicates that it was a good book. But did I like it? I think I am going to sit on the fence for this one.
First the plot. Rita Jackson is a 23 year old addict. She is addicted to drugs, alcohol and smoking. She is homeless. She is married but does not know where her husband is. She freelances as a prostitute when she is pennliess. And she has seen a man disposing of a dead body – someone he might have killed. And he knows that she has seen him.
100 pages and I already gasping for air with the hopelessness of it all.”My Dreams out..” literally pulls you by your collar , from you bed into Rita’s messy world. There were moments when I had to put the book away, walk around the house to steady myself as waves of nausea hit me. My biggest challenge was my difficulty to relate to this protagonist. Even when I tried to push my boundaries and try to imagine this world and this character, something would happen that would seem so unreal and shake me. For instance, Rita having vodka for breakfast, daily. Then for lunch and then for dinner. Rita losing all her belongings once, twice and then again.
This books its not just about Rita. Its also about Gary Shepherd , a private investigater , who works in the hell holes of San Francisco trying to find justice for people just like Rita. As he walks in to a chapter, you breathe a sigh of relief. He is instantly drawn to her and provides some emotional and financial support to this deeply disturbed yet earnest woman. Once he discovers that Rita has witnessed the very murder he is investigating , he promises to protect her. Even if it means sleeping with her and cheating on his wife. A 21st century fairy god mother!!
But there is redemption for him and for her. Nothing dramatic. Maybe because this isn’t a fairytale as much as its about real people.
The writing is choppy , very new age. Sentences in your face. There is no escape in decorative literary mouldings. As I read I felt I was walking in those god forsaken alleys of San Francisco , whether I liked it or not.