Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

mosquitoland by david arnold

“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.

Description taken from Goodreads.

One of the most beautiful things about literature, I think, is that it’s always growing. Changing. I believe that no art form reflects human situation as accurately at the time it is written as writing. The fears, hopes and realities of the present frozen into a work of art.

But then there are some books that make me wish that literature was frozen. That children could be content reading the same books as the generation before it, and the generation before that. This is one of those books, because the entire time I was reading, I thought about a book I grew up with: WALK TWO MOONS by Sharon Creech. I feel like WALK TOO MOONS is MOSQUITOLAND in the voice of a real person, a non-fluffed voice.

While Phoebe was easy for me to relate to and know as a kid, I can’t see many of the kids that I recommend books to really identifying with this story and the people in it. If you like super-flowery text, you will probably enjoy the writing style of this book, but for me there’s flowery and then there’s complex and then there’s too much. The writing style of MOSQUITOLAND for some might be “kaleidoscopic”, but for me it was just irritating. It took away from the voice of the characters.

When it came to plot and backstory, I was actually interested in what was going on. I wanted to love the people in this story, sympathize with what happened to them, but again and again I found myself distracted by the pacing and the writing. Not a book for me, and not one I would recommend to kids whose parents don’t like them reading books with cussing in it, but one that I can see other people enjoying. 1.5 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 352


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