My entire opinion about this book is probably just basically: “Hmm…I think no.” But it’s a soft no. Because I think this is a “it’s me not you” thing. I basically couldn’t stand the narrator, Mim, and her pretentious “better than thou” attitude and rudeness. I ended up putting it down for a week and came back to finish the last hundred pages completely unmotivated.
BUUUUUT!! Let me explain (in a list, obviously, because lists are life) why I didn’t fall in love with Mosquitoland like I expected to. (I also whisper that most people DO love this book so I’m a moody minority here…if it piques your interest, go for it!)
WHY MOSQUITOLAND DIDN’T WORK FOR ME:
- Mim is a sarcastic little lemon. I like sarcasm. I DO. But I like polite sarcasm (is that a thing??) and Mim was really rude. She “craved honesty”, but HELLO. There is such a thing as manners too. She acted like a 6 year old with no verbal filter and I just found her really pretentious, cantankerous and utterly self-absorbed.
- The plot felt helter-skelter ALL OVER THE PLACE. At one point there’s an accident and I PROMISE I WAS READING AND PAYING ATTENTION but I didn’t even get that the accident had happened because it was so “and then suddenly I was falling and drifting in the heavens” sort of fluffling (I made up that specific wording but you get my drift). It was too metaphorical for me.
- What was the message and point behind this book?? Perhaps: do not run away from home before your parents finish their sentence?
- Also, another good message would be, “USE THE BRAIN THAT GOD HATH GIVEN YOU” but I shall calm myself.
- STRANGER DANGER! STRANGER DANGER!! Mim takes a bus road trip and meets a perverted stalker and her thought process is literally “I should get off this bus to get away from him and…yeah, I’ll hitchhike instead”. Because it’s sooooo much safer to hitchhike and avoid potential stalkers that way. NO.
- Mim alludes to a possible mental illness. I’m still not sure if she was depressed or delusional or had anxiety or…what. And speaking of how this was handled, I am not a happy clam because:
- Mim makes a friend along the way (as one does on road trips) named Walt who has Down-Syndrome. At one instance she takes him to the vet because he gets sick and the hospital is shut. OKAY. I get this. No other options. But it was kind of awkward/insensitive because the character had a disability. And later, Mim makes this comment:
Beck smiles down at him. “We totally just took Walt to the vet.”
“Yeaaaah, to be fair, he is kind of our pet, though.”
I did not find this cute or quirky. I found this to be Mim (and the love interest, Beck) referring to someone with a disability as being a pet because he wasn’t as “smart” as them. The vet thing NEARLY made sense to me…but this comment just broke it. UGH. And it’s possible I’m being too sensitive…but if Walt had not had a disability, would this conversation have taken place?
- The whole story was also full of huuuuuuge long interior monologues by Mim on the suckiness of life and her totally quirky, full-of-weird-references way of speaking. IT WAS TOO MUCH. I wanted some clear-cut-story instead of all the metaphors of how difficult it is to be a teenager.
It didn’t work for me, but I don’t hate the story! It was interesting, even if it took forever to say what it wanted to say. I kind of wish it’d ended with Mim realising she wasn’t the ONLY person in her universe…or putting some Mosquito repellent on or something.
THANK YOU TO HACHETTE AUSTRALIA FOR THE REVIEW-COPY! Mosquitoland by David Arnold was published September, 2015.
When her parents unexpectedly divorce, Mim Malone is dragged from her beloved home in Ohio to the ‘wastelands’ of Mississippi, where she lives in a haze of medication with her dad and new (almost certainly evil) stepmom.But when Mim learns her real mother is ill back home, she escapes her new life and embarks on a rescue mission aboard a Greyhound bus, meeting an assortment of quirky characters along the way. And 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.
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