I was excited to have an opportunity to read and review Catch a Dream by Wendy Brown-Baez, as part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour.
(I received an advance copy to read and review.)
Wendy Brown-Baez wrote a memoir about her stay in Israel. Catch a Dream grew from her experiences there and became a novel, a novel about a woman’s spiritual journey.
Lily felt she had to emulate the life of Christ and was drawn to Israel, feeling it was the ideal place to go to explore the Holy land. As she says: Jerusalem “has written herself all across my heart”.
She went with her nine year old son Jonah, her best friend Rainbow and her daughter, after traveling throughout the U.S. and Mexico.
We share Lily’s journey – of Israel, of the people there, both Jewish and Arab, and of her interior journey. We learn about the Jewish culture, about the political history of Israel and Palestine.
As she travels and learns about the country, she meets many people, including Levi, who she comes to love. But all is not all that it seems.
Lily is very honest about her past – her loneliness, her pain, her fears. She exposes her inner turmoil to us and the questions she asks at different times throughout her journey, are ones we have probably asked ourselves, or could ask ourselves.
I was drawn to read her book – as I faced a journey to a different place, with a different culture when I first began teaching forty years ago. I too came to love the people and the land of the far north of Canada. Though I only stayed three years, to this day, I still feel the hold the north has on me. I can relate to Lily’s desire to stay in a country that had such strong meaning for her.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Wendy’s novel and would highly recommend it. You quickly get caught up in Lily’s journey of discovery – both of Israel and her interior life.
A woman’s healing journey begins in a country embroiled in relentless turmoil. In Israel, the first Intifada has just begun. Palestinian frustration for a homeland erupts in strikes, demonstrations and suicide bombings and Israel responds with tear gas, arrests, and house demolitions. Lily Ambrosia and Rainbow Dove arrive in Haifa with their children on a pilgrimage to sow seeds of peace. Lily’s fascination with Jewish culture inspires her to dream she can plant roots in the Holy Land. She falls in love with the land itself, with its people, and with Levi, a charming enigma, dangerous but irresistible. Eventually she is fully immersed in Israeli life, earning her way as a nanny, hanging out in cafes with friends, and attending Yom Kippur in the synagogue. Her son rebels against the lifestyle she has chosen and war with Syria looms on the horizon. Will she be able to stay? What does she have to give up and what will she be able to keep?
Print Length: 196 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: BookBaby (March 24, 2018)
About the Author
Wendy Brown-Báez is the author of a poetry CD Longing for Home, the full-length poetry collection Ceremonies of the Spirit (Plain View Press, ’09), and chapbooks: transparencies of light (Finishing Line Press, ’11) and Elegy for Newtown (Red Bird Chapbooks, ’14). She has published both poetry and prose in numerous literary journals and anthologies, both in print and on-line. She received McKnight, Mn State Arts Board and Saint Louis Park Arts & Culture grants to bring writing workshops into non-profits and community centers.
Wendy has facilitated writing workshops since 1994 including at Cornerstone’s support groups, the Women & Spirituality conference at MSU Mankato, Celebrate Yourself women’s retreats, All About the Journey healing center, The Aliveness Project, Unity Minneapolis, El Colegio High School and Jacob’s Well women’s retreat. Wendy received 2008 and 2009 McKnight grants through COMPAS Community Art Program to teach writing workshops for youth in crisis. The project at SafeZone and Face to Face Academy developed into an art installation showcasing their recorded writings. When it was noted that students’ reading scores improved, she was hired as Face to Face’s writing instructor.
In 2012 she was awarded a MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to teach writing workshops in twelve non-profit arts and human service organizations. She continues to teach at Pathways: a healing center, in Mn prisons, and in community spaces such as public libraries, yoga studios, churches, and cafes.
Wendy has taught memoir at MCTC continuing ed and through Minneapolis community ed.
In addition, Wendy has managed shelters for the homeless and visited incarcerated teens. She is trained as a hospice volunteer and as a facilitator of Monologue Life Stories. Wendy studied alternative healing, ceremony, and spiritual traditions with Earthwalks for Health and lived in Mexico and Israel. She has collected wisdom teachings from these diverse cultures, as well as written memoirs of her adventures.
You can find Wendy Brown-Baez at:
Be sure to check out all the stops of the Blog tour:
Blog Tour Dates (in Chronological Order)
May 21st @ The Muffin
Grab a muffin and a cup of coffee and read Women on Writing’s interview with author Wendy Brown-Baez and enter to win a copy of the book Catch a Dream.
May 22nd @ Memory Revolution
Jerry Waxler relates to the main character in To Catch a Dream as if she was a real person. His post reflects on lessons learned in this fertile ground between “memoir” and “fiction-based-on-fact.
May 23rd @ World of My Imagination
Exercise your imagination over at Nicole’s blog The World of My Imagination where she reviews Wendy Brown-Baez’ book Catch a Dream.
May 24th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog
Make sure to stop by Jill Sheet’s blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez fascinating guest post on conflict and peace. The author answers the question – is peace possible without forgiveness?
May 24th @ Rebecca Whitman’s Blog
You should also stop by Rebecca Whitman’s blog where Wendy Brown-Baez talks about free spirits and belonging. What if home is not where we come from but where we feel we belong? What are we willing to give up to stay?
May 25th @ Margo Dill’s Blog
Come by Margo Dill’s blog to catch another guest post by author Wendy Brown-Baez. This moving post is about motherhood and how can we be a good parent and yet fulfilled as a woman?
May 26th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
Come by Ashley Bass’ blog to check out Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on trauma and healing. How can we stand up for ourselves? How can we reclaim our voice when we have been silenced by trauma?
May 27 @ Beverly A. Baird’s Blog
Make sure to stop by Beverly’s blog to find out her thoughts about Wendy Brown-Baez book Catch a Dream.
May 22nd @ Memory Revolution
In a second post, Jerry Waxler will share Wendy Baez’s own words about the choices she made to publish her true life story as a fictional novel.
May 29th @ Mari’s #JustJournal! Blog
Stop by Mari’s blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on journaling and self-reflecting writing. A must-read if you love freewriting or journaling!
May 30th @ Story Teller Alley
Come by Veronica’s Story Teller Alley blog and find out how Wendy Brown-Baez book came to be in the Story Teller Alley feature “Where Do Stories Grow?”
June 1st @ Words from the Heart
Come by Rev. Linda Naes’ blog to read Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on the topic loving someone who is not good for us.
June 2nd @ McNellis Writes
Come by Margaret’s blog when she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on the subject of travelling in countries during times of unrest.
June 3rd @ Margo Dill’s Blog
Stop by Margo’s blog where she reviews Wendy Brown-Baez book Catch a Dream.
June 4th @ Mommy Daze: Say What??
Come by Ashley Bass’ blog and find out her thoughts on the moving book Catch a Dream.
June 5th @ Madeline Sharples’ Blog
Take a look at Wendy Brown-Baez guest post over at Madeline Sharples’ blog where the author talks about writing to heal. A must read during these troubled times!
June 7th @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Stop by Kathleen’s blog where she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on writing authentically about difficult or painful topics.
June 8th @ Words from the Heart
Take a heartwarming journey over at Rev Linda Naes’ blog Words from the Heart to find out her thoughts on Wendy Brown-Baez book Catch a Dream.
June 14th @ Become Zen Again
Come by Shell’s blog Become Zen Again where she shares her opinions on Wendy Brown-Baez moving book Catch a Dream.
June 18th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Stop by Wendi Huskin’s blog Strength 4 Spouses where she shares Wendy Brown-Baez guest post on writing to heal.
June 22nd @ Strength 4 Spouses
Stop by Wendi Huskin’s blog where she shares her thoughts on the book Catch a Dream. A must read for your upcoming summer vacation!