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Rivera Sun, The Dandelion Insurrection – Love and Revolution

Rising Sun Press Works, 2013; 376pp; £17.99

ImageIn this novel Rivera Sun describes a USA of the not-too-distant future where the divide between rich and poor is even more pronounced than today. It is a land of media control, debt labour camps, martial law and curfews. Democracy no longer exists and terrorist attacks are common, but who are the real terrorists?

It all sounds very familiar and all too possible. However, what lifts her book up from the usual dystopian nightmare is what happens next.

Sun focuses her attention on people, and on what can happen when they help each other and find something to believe in again. Hope, inspiration, love and the possibility of change are the real themes of this novel.

The two main characters, Zadie and Charlie, are launched on a journey across the US, sowing seeds of insurrection and revolution as they go. Their simple message snowballs, whispered from person to person, as they also undertake their own journeys of transformation stepping into roles they never expected. We see how a person can be plucked from their life to reluctantly become the leader of a movement and the impact that this has on a personal level.

Best of all, it is a really good read. I was gripped. There is action, romance, betrayal, tears and laughter. What more could you ask?

Woven into the story line are examples of nonviolent direct action and ways to bring groups together, as well as the problems and conflicts that can arise when people get involved in activism (to which Sun offers her own solutions).

Accompanying the novel is a Study Guide (£9.96) – an in-depth look at nonviolent direct action, full of useful exercises for group training as well as a comprehensive list of techniques and actions.

Community is the most effective weapon we have against oppression. If there is no bond, no love and cooperation, then states of fear are more easily maintained. People coming together and working in unity is surely the biggest threat to any system of power and control. This is the message of The Dandelion Insurrection.

Where there is often so much doom-laden rhetoric it is refreshing and inspiring to read something that is so bursting with hope and optimism.

As Zadie’s warcry goes: ‘Be kind, be connected, be unafraid’.