Monday, January 26, 2015

Dream Interpretation for Beginners: Understand the Wisdom of Your Sleeping Mind - Diane Brandon

Dream Interpretation for Beginners: Understand the Wisdom of Your Sleeping Mind - Diane Brandon
Source: NetGalley
Originally Reviewed: January 26, 2015
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

This book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was excited to read this book. I have always had really bizarre dreams. For as long as I could remember, they have seemed extremely nonsensical, but very vivid and easily recalled. In fact, Ms. Brandon practically quotes my thinking:

“If it was bizarre, it wouldn’t mean anything.”

The Good
You can read a lot on the science of sleep and on dreaming as separate entities, but they were included here together in terms of how one’s sleep actually impacts the dream itself. I thought including that information was a fantastic idea.

Most of what I was wanting to note about the book was informational. This means that I found the information relevant and meaningful. Despite a lot of the information being redundant, once you got to the sections of the book actually dedicated to dream interpretation, it was clearly explained and very well put.

The “tips” and “step-by-step” sections were fantastic. They include a number of things that could be easily forgotten during dream analysis that are very important to getting a good look at the big picture. Plus it breaks the interpretation process down into easily manageable steps that can help keep the analysis focused.

The Bad
I had a hard time getting going with this book. The introduction seemed unnecessary, more like an extended table of contents than anything else. A lot of information included was pretty redundant – information that can be found in your average dream interpretation book, or with a simple Google search on dreaming & interpretation. Beyond that, though, it was hard to feel engaged. There was some information included you might not find in your typical dream interpretation book, which I think was meant to make it stand out. However, it read more like filler rather than relevant information.

As a book for beginners, I feel there was a lot of information missing. In fact, it’s almost as if this should have been a supplemental book to a more robust, complete book on dream interpretation. This book could have gone a lot further with me if the same information hadn’t essentially been re-written in 3 different ways, and instead different, interesting information had been used to fill the pages instead.

And I understand that while to interpret dreams you have to be able to look beyond the obvious and analyze what’s really going on underneath – in a book that’s specifically cited “for beginners”, you shouldn’t have to engage that kind of analysis to get the most out of the book.

I do see the benefit in having example dreams as well as practice dreams – but having both wasted a lot of space I think could have been used in a much more valuable manner. For a beginner’s book, I think she should have skipped right to the practice dreams and spent more time fleshing out the information in the Appendixes.

In the End…
The book itself is well-written, but highly flawed. As someone intimate with their own dreams and how deep, malleable and unique they can be, I was extremely disappointed in the material provided. It may have been personally interesting, but definitely not personally useful.

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