Review – American Dream

by J.J. Brown

It has been more than a year since I subscribed to author J.J. Brown’s blogs during the summer of 2011. At the time I knew of her work as a scientist.  Many of us hold to stereotypes and think of scientists as Stoics; people involved in objective analysis of data and who are somewhat detached from the lives of ordinary people.

I learned from the start those assumptions were unfair, at least with Ms. Brown. She writes with sensitivity and insight about the world around her. It was her poetry that first garnered my attention but I soon noticed the same qualities in her prose.

American Dream gives readers an in depth, well crafted look at life in New York City and landscapes along the Hudson River in New York State. We read of the last days and final moments of a mother dying from stage-four bone cancer. These are touching scenes delivered with warmth and sensitivity. It is in this context we get our first look at the impact on her loving son, Daniel.

While reading American Dream, I came to understand and admire Daniel, the protagonist; a gifted artist who struggles with emotional illness. In Pierre, his psychiatrist, readers see a professional who genuinely cares about his patient. In stark contrast, we discover Daniel’s  cunning, conspiring sister who will do anything to suppress what is best for her brother. Readers will get to know Daniel’s circle of friends. I felt drawn into these characters lives.  At the same time, the antagonist evolves into a pathetic and despised creature. With it’s strong characters and dialog I think it could easily be made into a theatrical play.

Ms. Brown shows us landscapes and architecture in exacting, panoramic detail with writing that appeals to all of our senses.

American Dream excels as a quality work of literary fiction, worthy of comparison with the classics. If you enjoy well crafted characters and a good story, American Dream is a book for you.


Rising from the rock cliffs like a vague image in a dream, ruins of a castle stand at the edge of the Hudson River north of New York City. The blackened stone walls are relics of a prosperous past in a present plagued by loss, debt, foreclosure, and homelessness. People crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge see it and wonder, who owned that abandoned castle on the river? Who lived there?

Brown, J.J. (2012-07-13). American Dream (Kindle Locations 48-51). J.J.Brown Author. Kindle Edition.

Please take a moment to learn more about the author and the book below:

I have included a short bio of Author J.J. Brown below and, included the American Dream book description.

Book Description

In American Dream, a young artist with depression faces eviction from his one-room, city apartment. He unexpectedly finds himself in line to inherit a family castle. The reclusive artist works to escape the long shadow of his dying mother, with the help of his psychotherapist. While illustrating his first animation film and overcoming depression, the artist tries to provide a home for his estranged son. The artist’s older sister schemes to exclude him from the inheritance because of his mental state, and control him as his guardian. His creative spirit defies ownership and redefines success. In this moving portrait of an atypical New York family, author J.J.Brown explores ties between emotional illness and creativity.

More about the author

J.J.Brown, author of “Vector, a Modern Love Story” lives in Brooklyn. Born in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, the author has lived in New York City for two decades. J.J.Brown is also a scientist with a PhD in genetics, and is published in leading science journals.

Author J.J. Brown

You can learn more about J.J. Brown through her blogs and websites:


J.J. Brown Official Website

Author J.J. Brown’s Blog

J.J. Brown Science page

The article that inspired my novella, “Toxic Situations.”

American Dream on

Amazon Author page


Filed under Author Interview, Book Review, Books

9 responses to “Review – American Dream

  1. It sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!

  2. You’re welcome, Susie and yes ~ it is a wonderful book. With it’s strong characters and dialog I think it would make a great theatrical play. 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for sharing about J.J. Brown and her book.

  4. You’re welcome, Lynn. For me, it was a heartwarming story about life in New York City, Brooklyn and its people but delivered through the eyes and voices of a small group of friends, family and acquaintances.
    Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing your insights here in the thoughtful review Rich. I love the suggestion of a theatrical play – I will have to work on this! The difficulty of losing a beloved family member, like in the story here, can be softened by close connections with family, friends or even a therapist, and I’m happy that came through.

  6. You’re welcome, Jennifer. You handled the loss with warmth and sensitivity and helped us feel the connections formed in that closed community. Like you, I’ve experienced intense loss, the most difficult being an 18 yr old daughter. Stories like yours help with the healing.
    A book like this is art in its own right. Reading and reviewing it was a pleasure!

  7. Joey Kirker

    This blog was… how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Many thanks!

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