In the book Dreamland Sarah Dessen explores and illustrates physical abuse and loving someone so much that you can not leave. Catlin O’Koren shows many signs of getting abused such as bruises, feeling mentally drained and using drugs to escape the pain. By the middle of the book Catlin’s friend Rina suspects something is wrong with Catlin but says nothing because she feels it might ruin their friendship. Catlin then becomes emotionally and physically attached to Rogerson, and if she ever if late for something she fears that he might hurt her, but she for some reason also feels safe around him.
In the book Dreamland the main character Catlin O’Koren deals with many challenges such as, her sister Cass running away, physical abuse, and later going to rehab for drugs. At the beginning of the book the main character Catlin woke up on her birthday to find a present from her sister Cass sitting outside of her door with a letter attached to it saying that she had run away. ”My sister Cass ran away the morning of my sixteenth birthday, she left a present, wrapped sitting outside my door (Pg. 1, Par. 1)”.
Cass was supposed to go to Yale in a few days but was feeling too much pressure from her parents to be perfect, so Cass ran away with her boyfriend Adam to be together. Catlin then becomes lost without Cass around and feels she has no one to tell her feelings to since Catlin has been with Cass her whole life. In the middle of the book Catlin was watching Television when she saw Cass on a television show called “The Larmont Whipper Show” Catlin and Her parents finally find out that Cass has run away to New York, and watch the show everyday to try and catch a glimpse of Cass.

Cass finally decides to call home and tell them where she went and that she is okay, but Catlin will not talk to her because she is afraid to hear her sister’s voice again. Catlin then gets a letter at the end of the book from Cass saying that she was not happy and Yale was the last place she wanted to be. By the end of the book when Catlin comes home from Rehab Cass is there at her welcoming home party. Cass running away was a prime example of the challenges that Catlin faced throughout the book. “One thing I have learned over the past couple of months, it is that sometimes you have to close your eyes and just jump (pg. 38, par. 16)”. Catlin First meets Rogerson at the car wash and vacuum station when she was getting quarters for her friend to clean her car. Catlin’s friends had an opinion about Rogerson, and that opinion was right, that he looks like a drug dealer. Their relationship starts off with Catlin seeing Rogerson’s dad abusing him because he was late to one of their parties. Rogerson then feels the need to get his anger out by hitting Catlin. Rogerson first abuses Catlin after the athletic banquet at school, because he had to wait a long time for Catlin after she stopped to see if Rina was okay “when he hit me, I didn’t see it coming.
It was a quick blur, a flash out of the corner of my eye, and then the side of my face exploding, burning, as his hand slammed against me ( )”. This was Catlin’s thought as Rogerson hit her for the first time. Rogerson then began to hit Catlin all the time, even over the slightest thing, if she showed up late to anything, was seen with another guy, or even just for fun, he would hit her. Rogerson then began hitting Catlin places where it was not noticeable and she could cover it up easily. Catlin then became an avid drug user to drown her feelings since she was not able to tell anybody about Rogerson abusing her.
The last time that Rogerson hit Catlin was because Rina took Catlin to her lake house and she was late to meet Rogerson at her house. She knew the hit was coming but never expected it to be as hard as it was. The hit was so hard that when he hit her and she got out of the car and fell on to her lawn and blacked out. He began kicking her telling her to get up, when Catlin’s mother came out of the house to stop Rogerson and called the police on him. Rogerson then went to jail but even after him hitting her she still loved him. This is book is a love story about loving someone so much that you cannot leave.
Rogerson hitting Catlin is an example of physical abuse loving someone a little too much. At the end of the book Catlin finally admits to her parents about doing drugs to escape the pain and ends up going to Evergreen, a rest care facility. When she first gets there she is very shy and does not want to talk to her therapist, but once she is there longer she begins to open up and tell him about what had happened to her. While she was in the rest care facility she thought about Rogerson constantly and how she still loves him and misses him “After all that happened, how could I miss him?
But I did. I did (pg. 233 par. 27)”. This is Catlin explaining that after all that happened with Rogerson she still missed him. After a month of being in Evergreen Catlin was making a lot of progress and was let out of the facility. When she arrived home she was surprised by a welcome home party with Rina, Boo, Stewart, and her mom and dad. Catlin starts telling everyone about her time at evergreen when her sister Cass shows up to the party. Catlin seeing Cass there was like a sense of relief and that she could finally take a deep breath and get out of dreamland.
Catlin going to Evergreen, then coming home to see Cass was a brilliant way to end the book and Catlin going to Evergreen was something people should know a little more about. Catlin faces many challenges in the book such as her sister Cass running away, physical abuse, and going to rehab for drugs. Sarah Dessen does this in a very compelling and interesting way. This was a great topic to read about and everyone should be informed about how physical abuse can mentally and physically hurt you. Sarah Dessen does a great job explaining a difficult topic for some people.

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