Do not be discouraged from reading this book based on the first sentence, or even the first paragraph. While the writing leaves a little something to be desired, at times too heavy
with descriptors, the story itself makes this book worth reading. Those little idiosyncrasies fade away as the reader gets pulled into the story
- and you will get pulled into the lives of these well-drawn, complex characters. The novel is the perfect length, and the story moves along at a pace that keeps the reader engaged and interested, full of unexpected twists and events.
Teresa Zapata is waiting for her 15-year-old son to come home. Gabriel is out for a night on the town with his 19-year-old friend, Jose. The two boys are on their way to a party in a well-to-do neighborhood, a much different environment than the one
from where they come. A set of tragic events begin to unfold when the two boys are pulled over by the police, guns drawn.
Gabriel, the youngest of four children, is a decent boy, dreaming of a better life for himself. He wants nothing more than to go to go to college and make something of himself. His oldest brother, Don, is an aspiring businessman whose feet are rooted to the ground; his brother Frank is falling from the good path after losing his dream of pursing a career in the military.
Then there is Mary, an intelligent young woman with a big heart who will do anything to protect her family. Their mother worries about her children and their future.
The Zapata family lives on the wrong side of the tracks in the Coachella Valley, in a desert city called Indio. Poverty is a way of life; families struggle and dream for more. On the other side, in a more prominent and well-to-do part of the valley, lives the Anderson family. Judge Anderson is a powerful, influential man with political ambitions for his young son and namesake, Mark Anderson III. Mark’s mother, Sarah, is a woman going through the motions. Skip, Mark’s older brother, is drowning but does not seem to know it. Mark
is an ambitious attorney who seeks power yet finds himself wondering at what cost
it will come. The two families are inexplicably linked, their fates tied together.
Author E.A. Graham has created a powerful and haunting story about these two families struggling to survive, each in their own way. The Zapatas want a better life for themselves; the Andersons seek power and to maintain what they have. Each of them dreams for something more, however right or wrong.
The novel takes readers deep into the heart of both families, touching upon moral issues, justice, and family. Dust Covered Dreams taps into issues such as racism and classism and the strength of the human spirit. It is a story of perseverance and hope. It is all these things and more. Both thought provoking and entertaining, Dust Covered Dreams is worth reading.