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“either locked up or dead”

P. W. Freeman
P.W. Freeman Author Interview

The Prodigal Dream follows two kids on different paths out of a troubled neighborhood and explores how their choices affect their lives. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?

The “almost made it”, “If I had it all to do over again” and “either locked up or dead” stories that permeate communities throughout the US were a catalyst. As a child the reality of hearing adults lament these narratives was hard to digest.

The Prodigal Dream became a creative way to provide an educational perspective of what can happen over a young adult’s lifetime based off their aspirations, choices, and actions.

Joe and Marlon are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

Like many youth today, both of these want to attain a great lifestyle, yet the were both also missing the presence of their Fathers. Since both characters felt the pain of poverty and this heightened their desire for a better life. Their bond of friendship was solidified by the harsh reality of their environment.

The individual paradigms and accountability-or lack there of- for their actions were two major factors. Also both the levels of high school matriculation and incarceration rates for their specific demographic provided context for character development. The other characters that they encounter on their journeys also influence their life’s trajectory.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The power of a Dream. Setting goals. Working hard. Walking by faith. Spoken Word. True friendship. Growth. Overcoming adversity. Forgiveness. Self-actualization. Letting your mistakes become your lessons. Never giving up-In a lot of ways Life really is what you make it.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The Prodigal Dream Sequel. It will be available contingent on The Prodigal Dream‘s success.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook

An ambitious young student barely escapes a nefarious neighborhood environment after he is challenged to attain a college education. The intense conflict encountered on the road to success tests his endurance; leaving him profoundly changed. Like brothers, trying to figure how to be successful in life; driving full speed without a road map, best friends Joe and Marlon often speculate about the quickest way to achieve the American Dream. They even beat the odds to graduate from high school together. Yet as young adults pursuing the goal from drastically different perspectives, they arrive at destinations that redefine the meaning of success and the price of achieving it. In the face of urban decay and limited options, The Prodigal Dream contrasts the youthful desires of opulence against the discipline of academic study and hard work. The Prodigal Dream uses gripping realism and spoken word to highlight the power of choice. It asks the reader: where do you want to go…and how do you want to get there?

The Prodigal Dream

The Prodigal Dream is a thought-provoking coming of age tale following Joe, an ambitious young man battling to escape his neighborhood and achieve the ‘American Dream’. Joining him in his journey for success is his best friend Marlon. However, despite their friendship and similar childhoods, his dreams and plans are quite different to Joe’s

Author P.W. Freeman explores several deep and culturally reflective themes in this book including, setting goals, personal ambition, long-term gain versus instant gratification and friendship. Both main characters in the novel have the goal of bettering themselves. Both Joe and Marlon want to be more financially affluent than they were in their childhood. Financial wealth appears to be their main criteria for ‘success’. However, the journey they take to achieve their goals is vastly different. Whilst one chooses to work methodically through education and long-term commitment the other is in search of more instant gratification. The novel encourages the reader to examine how they define ‘success’. Prodigal Dream also explores the theme of friendship, what it means to be a friend, and how friendship changes over time.

The Prodigal Dream is set in the U.S. and begins in 2020, but then works backwards, looking at Joe and Marlon’s childhood and youth. Freeman adds descriptions of technology, music and clothing to set the scene and time period. The detailed descriptions bring the story alive and give the story an authentic feel.

The story is structured in easy to follow chapters. The chapters are appropriately titled and give a nice flow to the story. The story follows the traditional plot structure but does at times have the reader questioning what the eventual resolution or outcome will be.

The main characters in the story are Joe, and his best friend Marlon. In their younger years they are similar, and described similarly in physical appearance, speech and interests. As the story progresses the two characters are differentiated more and more by their actions and choices. Although they still enjoy the same music, their speech changes, as does their mutual friendships and interests. This change, and the choices that lead to the changes, is the thing I liked most about this novel. There are also some important supporting characters in this novel, including good friends and family members. These characters are well developed and add depth and interest to the story.

The Prodigal Dream is a compelling contemporary fiction novel exploring the challenges urban youth face in modern society. It questions our definition of success and how we achieve success.

Pages: 206 | ASIN: B08QGPG3YL

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