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Dreamland - Sarah Dessen Dreamland to most of us is a venue where we could momentarily escape reality. It could be a place where a medium of communication for a lost loved one is possible. At least for me, that's how it is.


What happens if everything has been altered and there's nothing you can do but stay stuck? Perhaps, pray that someone would see things through and save you. Being stuck in the dreamland as Sarah Dessen had described, is like drowning. You can't just pull yourself up. Like gravity, it could be beyond control.


Caitlin is surrounded with all the people that she loved but she never recognized how much they too love her. She contained herself into believing that everybody’s too occupied when her sister left. She grew tired of dealing with people reminding her of her loss. She didn’t need sympathy. All she wanted is silence. She wanted to start clean slate and not a single trace of her sister and the memories shared with her. It’s when Rogerson’s perfect timing gets in the picture. He divides the world for her and in him is the so-called dreamland where she can find solitude in his company. It sets her free. She was willing herself to do anything just to stay affixed with that isolation. What she got herself into is not the typical dreamland but it sure has the same essence, an addicting factor, where comfort level’s been intact, it’s the kind where you can’t just stay away, like there are no other options.


Sure, it can be all that bad. Caitlin found another venue to cope with her loss – photography (one thing, I could really relate to).


“Behind the camera, I was invisible. When I lifted it up to my eye it was like I crawled into the lens, losing myself there, and everything else fell away.”


The photos had become instrumental to her “awakening”. Every single time she describes a photo she just took, it triggers her senses, allowing herself to rationalize what situation she got herself into. Rogerson doesn’t want his photo taken. His photos, accidentally taken, were described four times in the book, one is where both him and Caitlin looking very happy and in love, while the rest were all in parallel to the negative side of him. Rogerson doesn’t want his photo taken; the same way as he doesn’t want to show the real him. The other significant photo was Caitlin’s self-portrait, only in the late part of the story had she realized that she after all doesn’t want it and it was only after her recovery to that long slumber. She ripped it off until it was in tiny bits. She ceased from throwing it away, part of the healing process perhaps. Somebody had stopped her. I realized here that despite our imperfections and shortcomings, a life is still never wasted. At our own pace, we can decide to get it all together, piece by piece until we’re whole again. In the end, that’s all that matters and not how shattered we once were. As we continue to learn and accept, we are creating a masterpiece, a mosaic of all our past experiences beautifully put together. And we don’t do it alone, the presence of our loved ones are there to be taken advantaged.


What I especially like about this book is the fullness of its details and the personal touch embedded in it.  I could easily say what could have been done. I could have just said that the main character is plain stupid. However, I'm an escapist myself, and I clearly knew what trauma could give you. It slows down your pace. It numbs the pain, more like what happens with adrenaline rush. And most times, rationalization only comes after, Actually, I find the real beauty here in the mistakes, the what-if’s and the what-not’s. It gives us realizations, enabling its readers to get creative, take part and switch roles with the main character. In a different view, it gives me a different kind of inspiration.

Note to self: Wake Up! Wake Up Now!