Never was a truer word written. Mim is strange. And when her family breaks apart and she learns from an overheard conversation between her principal, dad and stepmother that her mum is ill, she steals a bunch of cash and hops on the next Greyhound bus from Mississippi to Cleveland to go and visit her.
This book was a mixed bag for me. Some aspects were super cool, but although there was nothing inherently wrong with it, other aspects didn’t quite strike the right note for me.
I really loved Mim’s narrative voice and I suspect that’s because I have a high level of regard for snarky, intelligent characters. They tend to be an awful lot more interesting than those meeky-mopey, friend-of-the-world types. She was very clever and her turn of phrase at some points had me laughing out loud. She doesn’t come across as your average sixteen-year-old in the way she speaks or in the way she thinks, but I liked her narrative.
Although I liked Mim’s voice, I never really felt like I connected with her. Although I got a good sense of her back story, her likes and dislikes, I never felt like I was particularly rooting for her - it was more like I was sitting next to her, observing her. I’m not sure if that’s what the author meant to happen and it wasn’t like it soured the book for me, but I didn’t feel as engaged with it as I could have.
Mim herself reminded me a lot of Holden Caulfield. I felt detatched from her because she seemed detatched from life. I read Catcher in the Rye when I was in secondary school and although I could see it was a Good Book, it never resonated with me in the same way other books did.
The plot of the book revolves around the road trip Mim makes from Mississippi to Ohio to see her ill mother. I don’t tend to go for road trip books as a rule, but this is no ordinary road trip book. When Mim starts out on a Greyhound bus I did find myself wondering how the author was going to
I won’t say what happens on the road trip because half the fun is the surprise you feel when it happens, but suffice to say a whole bunch of crazy shit happens and by the end of the book I was kind of reeling. In a fun way and also a kind of dizzy way. I thought the ending was a tiny bit anticlimactic, but the rest of the book made up for it and I’m struggling to think how else it could have ended.
I thought Mosquitoland was an okay book, but in the same way I thought Catcher in the Rye was okay. It didn’t grab me in that visceral way that makes you rave about a book to everyone you meet, but I think that for a lot of people Mim will prove to be a twenty-first century Holden Caulfield and if you like books with world-weary protagonists then this is one for you.
I received a copy of Mosquitoland in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Headline and Netgalley.