Friday, March 20, 2015

'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.

One word:
This was a really good book. A great book even. This book really made me think. I cared for the characters. I loved the plot. I just loved the book. 

I didn't care for Mim at first. Then loved her character. She used big words. She seemed cocky. Her voice was something else entirely. It is like someone was trying too hard to make her sound smarter. 
But. She grows on you. Her large vocabulary is something that is endearing. Her odd way of language. 
Her personality is outgoing. She is an angry person. She has so much under her skin. Anger. Determination. I love that she doesn't always do the 'right thing'. She sometimes is selfish. But she sometimes is selfless. Going to find Ahab? Yeah. That's selfless. Helping Walt? That too. She does things no one else will do. She becomes someone else. She's brave and determined. Some of the best qualities in a person. Some of the qualities I want in a heroine. 
But she's broken. If that makes any sense. She has a yearning for her mother. No matter what her mother did to make her father leave her. 
And the others? 
Walt. Okay. I'm not sure what to think about Walt. He's childish. And carefree. And youthful. I liked how innocent Walt was. Compared to Beck and Mim...Walt is so innocent. Walt had his father problems. (And maybe something with his mother.) But he always laughed. But he always smiled. He didn't see the horrors of the world. This is refreshing. This is different. We have the broken duo of Madagascar and Africa. (Of Mim and Beck.) Walt has gone through so much. But he's gone everything through with a smile and a laugh. 
Beck. Alright. His backstory was amazing. He was chasing Claire. Trying to keep his promise. Trying to get her to forgive him. He didn't need to be handsome. He didn't need to be muscular. He just needed to be himself. And Beck is a truly nice guy. I want him to get a good girl. (Whether that's Our Heroine or not.) I want him to be happy. But I also want Claire to remember. To forgive him. Beck was destroying himself. Berating himself. 

The plot was quite good. It was fascinating. A true road trip. I loved it. 
Mim traveled. No. She traversed the United States. She saw a baseball game. Was in Graceland. Went to her hometown. Her story seems to be one huge adventure. Mim is quite lucky. I would just love to do this. It would be so much fun. Just running across the United States? That sounds amazing. You get to go places you've never been. See things you've never seen. Be with special people. Life is an adventure. Truly. 
But it seems so...coincidental at times. The bus breaking down especially. It decided to break down right then. Hm. Suspicious. It seems like too big of a coincidence. Could the tired be that faulty? Also...poor Arlene. Rest in peace, good same. RIP. Hm.
Is anyone else wondering about that? Also. Beck conveniently being there. Okay. Wow. That is definitely a coincidence. Why would he be there is just the right time? It seems too perfect. But...admittedly, coincidences do happen. 
The plot was dramatic and exciting. But not like action books. You didn't know what would happen next. Would Mim jump off the roof of the bus? Would she randomly get to IHOP? Who knows? Because of her surprises and reckless choices, you can't predict the way the book will turn. Such a good plot, though!
And the plot twist about her mother and then the one about Isabel? I was so surprised. I didn't expect that. I thought she was writing to someone else entirely. 

This book is about acceptance. It's about the truth and accepting it.
First. Mim hears her stepmother and father talking. She runs away from that. No acceptance. She's fleeing her problems. Fleeing her life. Determined to start an adventure where that doesn't matter. 
Then the letters. And she slowly pieces things together. But she doesn't accept Kathy. Not yet. She is reluctant. She can't see Kathy as anything but a fire-breathing monster. 
Then...Isabel. That pushes her closer and closer to acceptance. She learns more. But she's angry. So angry... I was scared for Isabel. What would she do next? Mim...her recklessness. Her actions that have no forethought. Sometimes, that's the scariest thing. 
Then...the truth about her mother. (And what a shocker that was!) There. She accepts it. She has to. There is no running for Mim. She has to face the facts and make her stand. 

The romance...I'll admit I was fine with it. It wasn't bad. I actually was laughing at Mim's antics. She was quite nervous. Which was kinda cute. 
As you know, I typically don't like romance. Like...ever. But this couple? Cute.
I know that both of them helped each other. Yup. Mim helped Beck. She helped him move along. And Beck helped Mim. Beck helped the most. He cared for Mim. Giving her a comforting shoulder to cry on. Someone she could trust. Her Africa. Which was great. Mim is...someone who has so much hidden. She keeps secrets well. She really needed someone to take part of her burden away. She had too much weighing her down. Beck helped lift the load. 
Who cares about the age gap? It's not weird. I want a sequel about this relationship. I would buy that book. 

The friendships Mim forms...beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. 
It's only a short time she knows them. She only knows them for a few days. But in those few days...everything changes. Her life is turned around.
I like this. She gains so much. Friendship. Love. Care. For once, with them, Mim can open up. She gains acceptance with the help of Walt and Beck. These two help her. They are companions for the ride. 
I can't wait for what happens next. 

Can you keep a secret? Good. I teared up a little at the end. Seeing her mother... It broke her heart. Her poor rebellious heart. I couldn't believe it. Such a touching, tender scene. I can understand why her mother denied Mim a visit. I can see why. I might not understand the emotions. But I can understand that.
Maybe that's all I need to understand. 

Sunny with 0% chance of rain

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