Olivia lives with her controlling father after her mother abandoned them to pursue her passions and dreams. On Olivia’s birthday she goes to see the show of a hypnotist and ends up being hypnotized herself. Others take notice of her susceptibility to persuasion. Her father hires the hypnotist to “cure” Olivia’s dreams and independent nature so that she will not leave him too. The hypnotist obliges but gives her a frightening ability instead — to see the world as it truly is for men and women. While frightening monsters take the place of people she has always known, an even curiouser occurrence takes place. Hired to strip her of her freedom, Olivia’s new vision does not reveal the hypnotist to be a monster.
Cat Winters is one of my new favorite authors. Her work is both politically pointed and incredibly entertaining. I could not put it down. I read the whole novel in less than four days.
There are many things that make The Cure for Dreaming work. For one, the magical realism aspect is just fantastical enough without overtaking the story. It brings about a necessary element that has the reader reeling in terror and suspense. Also, there are many characters that are not one sided, which adds to the mystery and enjoyment of the story. Most importantly, the main character is simultaneously real, hilarious, and heroic. Her emotions and actions leave the reader feeling the same way she does.
Winters has struck gold with this pre-suffrage tale of a young girl. I loved it and would highly recommend it. I would also gladly give this book to my future daughter or niece. The novel, according to her website, has been nominated for YALSA’s 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults and the American Library Association’s 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project.
Winters has been the nominee and finalist for several awards and honors including the Morris Award and the Bram Stoker Award. She writes fiction for both young adults and adults and is a contributor to the anthology Slasher Girls & Monster Boys.