________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 4 . . . . October 15, 1999

cover Your Guide to Dreams.

Lori Reid.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada Ltd., 1997.
186 pp., paper, $6.99.
ISBN 0-590-51427-X.

Subject Headings:
Dreams-Juvenile literature.
Dream interpretation-Juvenile literature.

Grades 7 - 9 / Ages 12 - 14.
Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4



There are so many expressions about horses and riding that to dream of this animal can have many interpretations. You'll have to judge its meaning by whatever else in happening in your dream. To "look a gift horse in the mouth" for example, means that you've been ungrateful. Maybe you've been cheated if you're "taken for a ride." If you're riding on a very big horse and looking down on someone below, your dream is showing you on your "high horse" and may be telling you that you've been arrogant or snobbish. But because horses are also a form of transport, riding one in your dream can be representing the progress of your life. If you're enjoying the ride, it means life is okay at the moment. But if your horse rears or bucks, there could be problems ahead. A runaway horse, or one that is difficult to control, suggests that you're having difficulty mastering a situation. Sometimes horses can represent your emotions, so that a galloping horse symbolizes that your feelings are racing along.

The excerpt above should give the reader an idea of the validity of dream analysis. The dream means whatever you want it to mean. People dream, but despite lifetimes and probably millions of dollars spent on researching dreams' meanings, no one has ever "correctly" interpreted a dream. The analysis of dreams, as presented by Lori Reid, is based on European and North American culture. An individual's culture, personal influences, point of view and personality are all elements that contribute to that person's thoughts during the day and night. Providing stock analysis to objects or events should only be regarded as a "joke" activity and never as something to be taken seriously. The analysis provided here is full of cliches that reflect superstitions and outdated ideas. Reid includes sections that discuss why dreams are important, the nine most common dreams, why we have nightmares, six steps for analyzing dreams and a 151 page dictionary of objects and events that happen in dreams and an analysis of what they mean. The most interesting part of this book occurs on page 15 where Reid talks about the history of dream analysis. Her research is based on the history of the Western World and discusses the theories of significant modern individuals (Freud, Jung, etc.) who have tried to probe the inner workings of our mind. Out of it all, no one has succeeded in developing anything except theories, and we know that many people have been harmed by the application of different approaches to their dreams. America's CIA and Russia's KGB are the most well known examples of organizations which have pursued dream analysis with devastating results to their subjects. There may be important medical information to uncover about what happens to the body during REM and deeper sleep, but this book does not deal with that. While dreams can be funny, confusing and frightening, they should not be a guide to our lives. Decisions should be based on analyzing real situations. "Having a dream" should reflect one's aspirations that can be realized through concrete activity. Joy, sadness, fatigue, overwork - all these things contribute to the type of dreams we experience. Imposing stock analysis (which frequently goes one way or the other) on our dreams is a waste of time. Furthermore, teaching impressionable children and young adults that it makes sense to interpret and guide their lives according to this type of analysis is a disservice to their intelligence and abilities. This book is as useful as a Ouija board. It should be used for fun and no other purpose.

Not recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364