Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 221
Behold the Dreamers is a 2016 novel by African American novelist Imbolo Mbue. The novel is autobiographical in nature, insofar as it tells the story of an American immigrant from Camaroon (Mbue's own home country). Jende Jonga is a chauffeur for a man who is an investor for Lehman Brothers. His wife, Neni, is studying to be a pharmacist. Jende's cousin, Winston, helps him procure the position.
In the first half of the novel, Neni becomes pregnant, but Jende learns that his application for asylum citizenship has been denied. The wife of Jende's boss, Cindy, becomes a confidante of the family, and offers Jende money when she overhears his brother call to request some on behalf of his son. Cindy takes Neni in as a friend and maid, and Neni soon learns of her drug problem.
Jende's world begins to fall apart when Lehman Brothers declares bankruptcy, Cindy and her husband Clark argue over his extramarital affairs, and the couple lets him go. He works as a dishwasher, having taken a major pay cut. Neni, however, has done well in her classes, and is desperate to stay in the United States. Neni takes $10,000 from Cindy by blackmailing her with photos of Cindy passed out from drug use. Cindy later dies of a drug overdose, and Jende, Neni and Liomi return to Camaroon.
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