Dakota and the American Dream

What happens when a child comes face-to-face with Corporate America?

Ten-year-old Dakota dreams about seeing the city from above, atop a skyscraper. An unsuspecting job candidate, the boy lands a position at a company within the building, but his journey is anything but a simple elevator ride to the top.

As he treads the path to success, he comes across many themes that are characteristic of America and its corporate culture:

  1. The rat race, office romance, and a golf tournament, among other workplace situations;
  2. Difficult workplace personalities, confusing American regional dialects, and cutthroat management;
  3. And worst of all, the dreaded performance review.

Will Dakota realize his dream? Or will he wake up from a nightmare?

The satirical tale plays with many themes characteristic of America and its corporate culture as seen through the expert eyes of a child, giving the story popularity with adults as well as children. From a rudimentary perspective, the novel is about the trials and tribulations of growing up, or overweight, or old. But from another more complex one, it concerns ridiculous points of sharp humor, such as the American Dream, the rat race, racism in the workplace, the corporate ladder and hierarchy, office romance, an unhealthy love affair with body image, the obsession with prescription medication, the work and coffee culture, the constant fear of losing one’s job, the importance of golf in career success, happy hour and team-building exercises, age discrimination, and the diversity of dialect found in the United States.

To define the charm of the Dakota book—with those wonderful eccentric characters the Greenback Squirrel, the White Mouse, the Black Rat, the Bigwig, the Chairman, the Big Boss, the Westchester Whelp, the 800-pound Gorilla, etc.—as merely an adolescent arousal would convey a lack of proper understanding, for it really comprises a satire on language, a corporate allegory, a reflection of contemporary history, and a parody of twenty-first-century children’s literature.

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