Author: David Arnold
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
Blurb: (from goodreads) "I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange."
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.
Me: Every once in awhile there seems to be a book that captures all the little snapshots and quirks of life. Mosquitoland, for me, did just that.
The Ups: I've missed my contemporary! It's been awhile since I've read a contemporary novel and this book showed me, yet again, why the genre is my favorite.
Mim Malone...oh ever the heroine. She was such a breath of fresh air for me, especially because I see the quiet, romantic girls in books and also the snarky, cynical ones, but Mim was something new. She had such an unique voice that was neither romantic nor snarky, but what I felt was very real...in the Mim sense. I think that she had a lens for viewing the world that was like no one else's and to see her story through that lens was fascinating.
This book is, in my opinion, a scrapbook of snippets of people's lives woven into Mim's. I connected with Mim such that I felt so much love for the people she cared about, but I was also distanced from her just enough to see her as someone else. Her journey itself was not my favorite; the plot line wasn't super cohesive. But the people she met on the way have found a place in my heart.
Walt and Beck...my boys. I won't go into too much detail, but I think that both characters were as special, if not more, as Mim.
It's very hard to condense the small beauties of this book into a review, but seriously...two words.
WAR PAINT. (oh and lipstick)
The Downs: Like I said before, I loved the mental and emotional journey Mim experienced, but didn't find much with the actual, physical journey. As a reader, the emotions and character development are much more important in judging the quality of a book to me, so I tend to weigh that a little more.
But the actual plot and setting matters, and I didn't quite find it completely easy to follow what was exactly happening. Okay, rephrase that... I didn't feel the need to follow what was happening. It felt like the writing wasn't doing the work for me.
Overall: Develops a real sense of love, compassion and familiarity with the story and lodges itself right in your heart.