By: Vanessa Purdy

Rebecca Rosenblum’s sophomore collection of stories possesses a certain sincerity that can only come from simplicity. The short stories follow the lives of office workers at the fictitious Dream Magazine. Punctuated with internal office memos, The Big Dream is a quaint, easy read; comforting in its generally predicable and inoffensive content, sometimes offering intriguing fringe perspectives, but, quite like its characters, never surpassing the average.

Conspicuously Canadian references often feel a bit forced, and most of these characters do not have very compelling problems. Some of these stories simply do not need to be told. I’m all for singing the song of the working class, but these struggles are so commonplace many of them are not worth exploring.

No doubt, Rosenblum is a good writer, I just wish she would focus her efforts on less mundane subject matter. That said, I appreciate the realism put forth in this collection; it was remarkably average. Then there is the issue of who this compilation would appeal to. If you work in an office, do you want to read about the dismal lives of people like yourself and your coworkers? Probably not.

The Big Dream’s press release cites the success of The Office, and claims her dialogue “holds up to anything Ricky Gervais has to offer”. As Dwight Schrute would say: False. The Office works in that it makes you squirm with sympathy at the latent awkward, laugh at people’s deluded perceptions and misguided actions, and somehow come to love unlikeable characters. There are moments in the Big Dream where this effect is achieved, but they don’t make up for the rest.

In short, there’s nothing big about The Big Dream. It’s middle-management, and in that, I suppose Rosenblum accomplished what she set out to do.

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