Author: David Arnold
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Penguin Canada for this ARC!
There is something quirky and endearing about Mim Malone. She’s absolutely bonkers, her level of trust for people is at an all time low, she is easily attached to things, and all she really wants is her own place in the world. Mim is one of those unforgettable characters who whether you like her or not, doesn’t stray from one’s mind.
Mosquitoland is a page-turner, and there’s something to be said about what is actually happening on the pages versus what makes it a real page turner. This is not in a lot of ways, a plot driven story, which usually makes up an awesome page turner. This book really is a character study and does it in all the right ways. Mim’s losses, the devastating changes in her life, the decisions people have made for her, all instantly connect the reader to her world the people around her. The characters that Mim encounter on her journey are also truly unforgettable, I had a love for creepy Poncho Man, if only because Mim reminded me of Spike from Cowboy Bebop in that instance.
Mim in a lot of ways is one of those problematic characters who gives the reader a lot to contemplate as they are reading. The road trip in this novel is highly entertaining as it is tragic — there’s a lot of unexpected feels in this book, despite it’s overall humourous tone.
There is one problematic element that many readers of the book have brought up and it was the representation of natives and I can agree with that sentiment, because any time Mim brought up her war paint, it made me slightly uncomfortable. On the other hand, I don’t think there was a malicious intent on the author’s part to make readers uncomfortable in that aspect, but at the same time how it in included can be seen as an issue. I won’t go into the spoiler aspects of this, but as a reader you can decide if this aspect bothers you or not. I was uncomfortable, admittedly, but it didn’t ruin my experience with the book on a whole.
Mosquitoland is a fun, crazy, whirlwind that keeps the reader engaged from beginning to end. The book will take you on a ride that is both insane and thoughtful. Every time Mim Malone reminds the reader she ‘is not okay’, a part of me felt as though we were connected — that I could help make it okay (even though yes, it’s a book, I get that). However, you want Mim and those around her to work things out, become better, and ultimately this book is about identity, but also letting go of the past and trying to build a better future. I loved my time with this book, and it’s one worth checking out when it releases, especially if you are a lover of quirky, awkward characters!