PMC Book Club Review: Olga Dies Dreaming



“I am myself, plus my surroundings, and if I do not preserve the latter, I do not preserve myself.”

When Olga Dies Dreaming was published this past year, a book review summarized it as a romantic comedy.

Is it romantic? Sure.

Is it comedic? Very. 

However, there is much, much more. 

In her debut novel, Xochitl Gonzalez really grapples with issues of identity for not only Olga and her brother Prieto, both Puerto Rican Americans, but also the dynamic of being caught between their two cultures.

On the surface, this is a novel about a wedding planner who hates weddings and her politician brother who struggles with the ins and outs of politics.

But that is just the beginning. 

Through the wedding planning setting, Gonzalez is able to showcase the concept of the “American Dream.” With Prieto’s political career, the reader is faced with questions of personal ethics.

However, through letters from their mother, the dominant themes of identity, family, and loyalty are truly showcased. The revolutionary mom’s struggle and need for liberation are what pull all the storylines and themes together. 

The PMC book club had the perspective of reading this novel during Hispanic Heritage Month and also against the backdrop of Hurricane Fiona and the destruction it recently waged on Puerto Rico. Both events provided a further look into the themes Gonzalez discusses throughout the book and which made an even greater impact on our readers.

Ultimately, readers are left asking what true liberation must mean- even when it is one’s so-called “dreams.”

PMC’s final book club pick for 2022 is Louisa May Alcott’s famous and beloved classic, Little Women.  

We hope you will join us on another family’s great journey.

Book Club pick Little WomenStay up to date on what we are reading, and join our in-person and online discussions on our PMC Book Club Facebook page!

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Katie Brand
Katie was born in Pensacola and lived there for 36 years with a brief pause in England for two. She now calls Milton home. After earning her degree in English at the University of West Florida, she spent countless sleepless nights deciding between law school or education, but followed her heart and pursued a career teaching high school English and has not looked back since. She and Dan married in 2014, where she was fortunate also to gain a son through marriage. She is now a mom to two big-hearted boys. They spend their free-time enjoying life on the water. Additionally, Katie enjoys trying new recipes and reading all genres-especially cheesy thrillers. She is a wannabe DIYer, who much to her husband’s chagrin houses a sewing machine and Cricut that collect dust while her Pinterest inspiration boards collect numerous amounts of pins for “one day.”


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