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Overheard in a Dream
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2008
I have enjoyed all of Torey Hayden's previous books but found this book really difficult to read. The focus on the mother's fantasy world and the chapters dedicated to re-telling a story about this imaginary world and mythical characters made it feel like a Science Fiction novel. I was not impressed at all and wouldn't recommend it.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2008
I bought this book not realising it was a novel and it was only as I started I realised, I hadn't read the cover!! I love Torey's previous books so was a bit concerned as I started to read this that I wouldn't like it as much. How wrong was I, it completely overwhelmed me and I had to keep reading. I took breaks every now and then as there was a lot to take in, but I just couldn't stop reading. I have finished it now and it was amazing, I definitely would buy any further novels she writes. It really should have been on 'Richard and Judy's' list.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 21 September 2008
I've read most of Torey's memoirs and loved them all, so when I heard she'd written a novel, I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, Overheard in a Dream was a big disappointment.

What I like most about the autobiographical books isn't just the gripping and fascinating subject matter, but the way Torey paints a vivid picture of the characters and settings. You feel as though you've really been there and met these people.

By contrast, I felt this novel was poorly written. The plot was promising, but the characters were wooden and the descriptions were uninspired. As another reviewer commented, there was a lot of telling and not much showing. Rather than entering into the characters' world, I felt I was just being given the "facts" of what happened.

I would say Torey has a great talent for depicting real people, real settings, real details and real emotions. Her ability to take her own experiences and transform them into good books is second to none. However, when it comes to fiction, she doesn't seem to have the imagination to flesh out the details and make her creations live.

This may be something she can improve on, but for now I'll stick with the non-fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2009
I have read all of Torey's previous books and loved the way she worked with the children and told their story.
This one was completely different and I guess its because it is a fiction novel.
The story starts off promising with a diagnosed austic child, but then it just got confusing & borring. The story progresses not with the child's story but with the mothers story and how she lived in a fantasy world. The story breaks off in a secondary story with chapters about characters in the fantasy world. I tried to read them at the start but it got a bit fantasy/ fiction that I started to skip them, this was easy done as they didn't add anything to the original story (except for a very very small part at the end but you can skip back to the reference)and actually made me dislike the mother character
I found the entire book very disappointing, it didn't read like a Torey Hayden book at all. The actual thread of storeyline is very predictable as I foretold the ending about halfway through so it is defintely not a page turner
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 2008
Being Torey's first novel I was looking forward to reading this book. It reads differently to her past books. It is cleverly written, with reality and imagination entwined, and it definitely left the reader guessing right until the end. Even after finishing the book, I would still think about the parallel storylines and find further links that I didn't realise at the time of reading it. The only let down, which initially annoyed me at the beginning but not at the end, was the focus on the mother and her story. Being used to Torey focusing on the child in every book, it was frustrating not to have more to read on the boy. Nonetheless a lovely story and touching as always.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2008
I was really willing this, Hayden's first novel, to be as gripping as all her other factual books so I could then anticipate more to come. I was very disappointed. I didn't find the psychiatrist's role at all convincing and the storyline was far too fragmented to keep me enthralled. Worst of all, I came to dread the frequent flits to Torgen's fantasy world as they never felt an integral part of the novel (and were quite simply boring). Can't recommend at all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
i was going to review this book as self indulgent diatribe but i thought that was a bit too harsh after i had read it through properly. It was very very long winded and i ended up the first time skipping through huge chunks of the book, but this is because i am used to Torey's usually genre of real life books.

I took the time to re-read it and i am glad i did as the ending does make up for the long winded story sections of the book, i would say this is a holiday read.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2008
Part of the problem going into this book was that I bought into the hype. I was intrigued at the prospect of a book being "too novel", according to the publishers, for what they perceived to be the average English speaker. Having appreciated a few of the insights Hayden offered in some of her nonfiction works, I figured she would bring that to bear through well-developed characters, vivid writing, and other staples of good novels. Because of the long wait for English publication, however, maybe subconsciously I expected it to be not only entertaining, but something I would keep on my shelf and return to. I mean, there must be some unheard-of creative jewel in there somewhere to make us wait that long, right?

Not exactly. The setup is certainly intriguing -- the son of the famous author Laura Deighton ends up in a psychiatrist's office presenting autistic-like symptoms and communicating increasingly cryptic things via a stuffed cat. Despite the fact that you have no idea what he's talking about until the last third of the novel, Conor is actually the most well-rounded character in this book, which -- considering that you know him only by his monosyllabic utterances -- doesn't bode well for the portrayal of the other characters. However, the boy's words taken alone are eerie, and along with psychiatrist James you might find yourself rooting for Conor as you try to make sense of them.

Unfortunately, this book really isn't about Conor. Conor himself takes up maybe a fourth of the book. The other (very thick) three fourths of the book are taken up by Laura's sessions with James, which alternate with whole chapters in italics -- Laura's story about a being called Torgon. Here there is most certainly more telling than showing. Some of this is understandable -- she's in the shrink's office, after all -- but all the same I feel it might have been handled better differently. When Laura talks to James, even though her words are in quotes, it is not believable human speech. I know Laura is a writer, but even writers have to speak like us poor normal folks sometimes. An occasional sentence fragment or "Um" or a more relaxed vocabulary wouldn't have hurt. She's already forcing him and us to read her writing (more on that in a moment), and now she's making him listen to an audio book too.

Considering she narrates her life like VC Andrews, this isn't a good thing. I could go into litcrit mode and say that the pretentious narration might be a reflection of Laura's arrogance, but I don't think so -- it just comes across as pretentious writing for lack of better dialogue. I may have been able to swallow it better if the quotation marks had been left off, and it were simply understood that we were in Laura's point of view then -- like a flashback or something. Then I wouldn't have to suspend my disbelief that people used so many adverbs and stage directions -- let alone verbatim dialogue -- in real life, out-loud conversation. Phrases like "I retorted indignantly" or "he smiled warmly" look weak and redundant even in writing, but they feel especially out of place in what is supposed to be speech.

The stories of Torgon intersect quite obviously with the story of Laura. I cannot tell you how tempted I was to skip those sections. Laura even warns James when she gives him the papers that they aren't very good, because she wrote them when she was a teenager. Believe me, Laura wasn't kidding. I hate to say it, but the chapters that are supposed to be so pivotal made the whole book a drudgery. The chapters read like bad teenage fan fiction. It's the only form of writing I can use to describe the quality of stilted dialogue, melodrama, and faux-medieval characters. They have no personality. These parts bogged down the parts I actually mustered some interest in, such as the villain.

Much of the conflict was interesting in itself. Unfortunately, it was so glossed over. The other children were only given cursory treatment, so that the ending lacked impact. All of the characters were cardboard, even the imaginary ones. I read the book because I wanted to find out what happened to Conor, but believe me it was very annoying hard going. Worse was James' gushing over the character development in Laura's books, and Laura telling him "My books are quality literature." (?!) The book is at least entertaining if you can slog through it, but I don't have space on my bookshelf for something I don't want to come back to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 November 2010
This book was a great dissapointment to me.

I am an enormous Torey Hayden fan and have read ALL of her other books, which I usually devour in a matter of hours.

I cant put my finger on what it was that I didnt like about the story but the style is not the same, and it certainly wasnt as interesting as her previous books.

I do not recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2013
Interesting book and storyline but too much Torgon and Laura's writing, went on too long. Loved the gifted bit and the psychology bit; loved the suspected autistic bit and the eventual misdiagnosis of Connor. For me personally it was a reasonable read but for those not working with gifted children may be a bit boring and too much fantasy.
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