Mosquitoland

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Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Young Adult // Road Trips
Published: March 2015
Favorite Quote: 

“Maybe I could muster the courage to speak those words so few people are able to say: I don’t know why I do the things I do.  It’s like that sometimes.”

Summary taken from Goodreads because I just cannot do it justice:

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.

Put on your war paint and grab your mountain dew, folks, because Mim Malone is here and she’s not okay.

I need to collect myself for a moment…Okay, done.

Mim just might be my new heroine.  She’s flawed. She’s full of heart. She’s growing up. This is her coming of age story and it was a pleasure to be on this journey with her. Throughout the story, Mim writes letters to someone.  Until the end, you don’t know who they’re written to.  And I loved who it was when I found out.

Okay.  So, despite some of the pretentiousness that some of you may see here, I thought this book was fantastic.  I loved Mim’s voice.   She was so clear. She fierce. Fucking fresh (take that how you will). She’s compelling. I just wanted to read more of her.  I think she didn’t make good decisions and I think she should have tried to listen to other people but that’s just who she was.

“I swear, the older I get, the more I value bad examples over good ones.   It’s a good thing, too, because most people are egotistical, neurotic, self-absorbed, insistent on wearing near-sighted glasses in a far-sighted world.  And it’s this exact sort of myopic ignorance that has led to my groundbreaking new theory: I call it Mim’s Theorem of Monkey See Monkey Don’t, and what it boils down to is this: it is my belief that there are some people whose sole purpose of existence is to show the rest of us how not to act.”

What’s great is that Mim clearly thinks she knows best.  She thinks she know exactly what she needs to do and how to act and how to be brave and how to do everything.  Over the course of her journey to her mother, she realizes over and over again how much she doesn’t know about the world and herself.

“I cry because I love. For some reason I always have.”

This book is truly about the journey.  It leads to you to believe that it’s about finding her mom but it’s really not. That’s just the vehicle for everything that Mim goes through emotionally.  She needed a goal. And it doesn’t matter that she made stops along the way, that’s what molded her into the person she is at the end.  Ultimately, the trip was about her and not her mom.  She needed to come to grips with all the things that were happening in her life because she could accept what was happening to her mom.

I loved David Arnold’s writing.  Mim felt so real, her personality shines through the page. I know she doesn’t sound like a teenager and normally this would bug me but it doesn’t.  She acts her age enough that she doesn’t really have to talk like it.  This will probably be one of those books that you either love or hate.  I clearly loved it.  She just spoke to me.  I loved every single character. I honestly did. There was such an eclectic group of people that you just had to laugh at the ridiculousness of it sometimes.  But everyone changed Mim. And that’s just what happens in a coming of age novel. I really think I read this book when I needed it.  Though I’m nothing like Mim, I think her journey of discovery helped me cope with real life things I was going through.

“She smelled like cookies,” I whisper through tears.
Ahab laughs and so do I, and it occurs to me again how often laughter accompanies tears.”

Can we just take a second and relate to this. Just read and remember that feeling when you first felt it.

“My fetching photog.  My heroically flawed Knight in Navy Nylon. My New Pangaea.  His name is Beck and he’s beautiful, intelligent, and kind. He challenges my spirit while comforting my everything else. Beck is teaching me how to be a better person, and when you find someone who inspires you like that, you hold on for dear life.
The last thing I’ll say about him is that he’s my friend. I know it sounds cheesy but I’d rather have that than all the rest.  I’ve made some royal mistakes in this life, but one in particular trumps the rest.  The remedy for this mistake is so simple it’s maddening, so important, I’m going to underline, capitalize, and cursify.
Ready?
Here it is.
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE VALUE OF FRIENDS.”

This is David Arnold’s debut novel and man, I know I will be looking out for whatever he writes next. I think it’d be cool to get a book from Beck’s perspective. Or Walt’s. Or just a sequel that starts at the Cubs opener. Or a story about Arlene and her nephew Ahab. JUST ANYTHING.

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