Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. (From Goodreads.com)
Bubby: You know those times when you wish that you could magically silence your children so that they would stop making whatever annoying sound they are making? Well, Olivia’s father has figured out how to make that happen. Sort of.
Sissy: While this is ostensibly a story of love and coming of age, there is a huge deeper meaning to be found. It’s surprising to me how even though I’ve read stories about suffragists many times I still become so incensed each time I read about it. But this story goes even deeper than that. It is about seeing the world as it really is; seeing people as they really are and making sure we do something about it.
Bubby: One of the main themes that I found in The Cure For Dreaming was that it is impossible to force people to think or behave contrary to their true natures. And trying to do so, as in the case of Olivia’s father, will ultimately result in one’s own destruction.
Sissy: One of my favorite parts of the book is when Olivia responds to an anti-suffragist, anti-woman letter to the editor penned by a prominent judge. The judge’s letter will make you want to spit nails when you read it, especially when you know that’s how men actually thought back then and in some parts of the world still feel that way. But Olivia’s response (written under the name “a responsible woman”) is brilliant! You want to tattoo it on the inside of the eyelids of chauvinists everywhere and shout Hooray! I don’t want you to forget that there is also a sweet and lovely romance in this tale between Olivia and the hypnotist Henri. Good stuff.
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