Gilligan's Dreams

The Other Side of the Island (Second Edition)

Non-Fiction - Memoir
232 Pages
Reviewed on 04/03/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Daniel D Staats for Readers' Favorite

Depending on your age, you probably will remember Bob Denver as either Maynard G. Krebs—from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis—or Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island. If you think you know Bob Denver, think again. Bob’s wife of over 25 years (Dreama Denver) has scored a major hit with her personal insights found in her book Gilligan’s Dreams: The Other Side of the Island. You will love reading their love story and see how they remained married through the years of trials. You may think that TV stars are all about money and fame, but you would be wrong. Bob was a loving and caring man. Together, Dreama (Bob called her Dreams) and Bob reared a differently-abled son. Bob was a dedicated father and together Dreama and he cared for their son.

This book gives the reader a glimpse into the personal life of Bob Denver. Dreama Denver was Bob’s fourth wife. In Gilligan’s Dreams: The Other Side of the Island, she shares some details about Bob’s life before he met Dreama, personal stories from his Gilligan days, and how they met. Then she goes on to talk about the charmed life the two of them lived together from their first meeting. After a few years of marriage, they decided to start a family. Together they had a son who was severely differently-abled. He had autism and seizures. Read how together they took care of their son, sacrificing everything for him. The book tells the sad story of Bob’s cancer and death. There is an afterword that talks about Dreama’s life since Bob’s demise and how much progress their son has made. Be sure to have a box of tissues with you if you have an ounce of compassion. You will need them. But also, be ready to laugh until you cry.

Jon Michael Miller

Gilligan’s Dreams: The Other Side of the Island, a memoir by Dreama Denver, Bob Denver’s lover then spouse, can be divided into four sections: 1) their courtship and marriage; 2) Colin, their brain-injured son; 3) Bob’s illness, and 4) Dreama’s life alone. The first is filled with the exuberance of soulmate passion and Dreama’s immersion in the sparkle of showbiz and its stars. The second is the horrific yet inspiring plight of living with a severely autistic child who demanded the couple’s full-time attention. The third is the harrowing love and dedication of Dreama’s struggle with Bob’s illness and passing, and the fourth is her miraculous growth and resurgence into a successful, independent individual in the realm of helping others. She provides many photographs of Bob and her with other stars, and she heads each chapter with relevant pop song lyrics by such artists as James Taylor, Elvis, Billy Joel, Elton John, and John Denver. In all, a fabulous memoir, stunningly written and born out of love, struggle, and redemption.

As a reviewer, I feel indeed privileged to be able to play a minuscule part in possibly bringing readers Dreama Denver’s difficult, brave and exquisite reminiscence. How her exciting, star-studded life was turned upside-down with the arrival of baby Colin in her life! How Colin bonded her with Bob inextricably as they sacrificed everything for the love of their injured child. How she summoned up her West Virginia pioneer strength to endure overwhelming challenges. What adjectives apply—miraculous, awe-inspiring, heartbreaking, chuckle-inducing, tear-causing, courageous, transcendent? Dreama Denver is a hero, no, a superhero. Because she is humble, she will reject such terminology, saying she merely did what she had to do. Thus, it is my great pleasure to supply those words. Simply, with all my heart, I say to all readers of every stripe—Read this book, Gilligan’s Dreams: The Other Side of the Island by its magnificent author, Dreama Denver.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Sometimes life dishes out a “tsunami” of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Even the most perfect, long-lasting love affair, and a Hollywood one at that, can have its chain reaction of problems. But for Dreama, her love affair with Bob Denver (the much loved Gilligan of the 1970s sitcom, Gilligan’s Island), a marriage that lasted 28 years, there was a powerful bond in this connection that saw her through the bad times as much as the good. Towards the end of Bob’s life, a friend reassuringly pointed out to Dreama: “You’ve had a beautiful life with him, Dreama, even the hard parts because he was there for you, always with you, never let you down. I’m not sure how many people can say that, but I don’t think many have a love story like yours. What memories you’ll have to fortify you after he’s gone.” She was right. Dreama’s life didn’t end with her love’s death. It carried on in many unexpected ways, always honoring the love she held so dear. “Bob left me better equipped to make my own way than I imagined. He left me 28 years of love to draw from, but his gift of Colin is what changed my life.” Colin was their autistic son. But Bob’s illness and death and Colin’s autism were not the end of the “tsunami” for in 2015, Dreama was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Perhaps the greatest tribute to this love is Dreama Denver’s poignant memoir, Gilligan’s Dreams: The Other Side of the Island. Beautifully written with compassion, love, honesty, and the undying union of two soulmates, this story goes beyond the Gilligan so many of us welcomed into our homes every week (myself included). Dreama reveals a man who was passionate about his craft: theater, comedy, and making people happy, particularly children. That latter passion was clearly evident in his deep devotion to his autistic son, Colin. Dreama has brought to life not only her life in theater but the life of a Hollywood icon who was much more in real life than the parts he played on stage or in front of a camera. Dreama’s words had me crying and laughing and wanting to shake both her hands and Bob’s (or even Gilligan’s, since for me he’ll always be one and the same). She reveals one man’s courage and determination when set against so many challenges, but she also shares her own courage and determination, both during their 28 years together and after he passes away. This is a beautiful tribute, a love letter of sorts in honor of a Hollywood icon. It’s both powerful and full of love we don’t often see these days.

Deborah Lloyd

When Bob Denver and Dreama Peery met for the first time on the set of Play It Again, Sam in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1977, the sparks flew; there was an instant connection. Their 28-year relationship is chronicled in the memoir written by Dreama Denver, titled Gilligan’s Dreams: The Other Side of the Island. Bob had already been married three times and had one stepson and three biological children. He always said “4” was his lucky number, and Dreama fitted the bill. Their relationship was always very strong, although they faced some of the greatest challenges any relationship could endure. From raising an autistic son together to dealing with Bob’s terminal illness, their love for each other never wavered.

Dreama is a wonderful storyteller; she is able to capture the joys and difficulties of an amazing relationship with an authentic voice. Her style of writing is easy to read as the story flows well. She shares some photos and some surprising facts about Bob, including finding his life’s purpose. Her journey is also an incredible one. She honestly shares her undying love for Bob, as well as an ultimatum she gave him during the marriage. Every reader will be able to feel the grief she experienced during his illness and death. And what she has accomplished after his death will give all grieving people hope. Life continues, and one can choose to honor their loved one through charitable works – a lovely tribute. Author Dreama Denver has shared an unforgettable love story through the memoir, Gilligan’s Dreams: The Other Side of the Island.

Joy Hannabass

In Gilligan's Dreams: The Other Side of the Island, Bob Denver's wife Dreama gives readers an insight into the private life of one of the most well-known faces in America. The lovable, funny, goofy guy that everyone fell in love with as one of the stars of Gilligan's Island. In this book, Dreama tells of how she and Bob met, their first job together as well as the many shows they were on, and how they traveled to America and Canada for their acting jobs. Since this is their love story, we also find out how they fell in love, their wedding day, their favorite places to visit, their marriage being an actor and actress, the many ups and downs of their life together, and the love that carried them through. We read the touching story of how Bob and Dreama were both committed to caring for their son Colin who was born with severe autism. And then the sad diagnosis of Bob's cancer, Dreama's illness, and how their love still held strong through it all.

Gilligan's Dreams, by Dreama Denver was such an enjoyable story. I grew up watching Gilligan's Island and was glad to read more about one of my favorite actors. It was fun reading about their home because my sister lived just around the road from them so I was able to see their beautiful home. As well, we met Bob at a book signing, which we will always remember. Dreama writes this story with such passion and love for her husband as well as their son Colin. It was with much sadness to read about Bob's cancer, the surgeries, and what this illness was doing to our favorite guy. As well as reading about Dreama's medical issues she had to face. But the special thing about it all was their love, and how that strong love carried them through. It was touching how Bob wanted Dreama there every minute and I love the sweet things they would say to each other. This is such a sweet story that I love, and if you love Gilligan like most of us that grew up with him, Gilligan's Dreams is a story you don't want to miss.

Nancy

Absolutely a great read! I loved it! Thanks for sharing your life with us Dreams! I laughed and cried all the way through! I loved watching his shows and learning about your loves together. A long hard road filled with love and reality...

Margaret pennington

When you start reading this book you can't put it down till you reach the end love it