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Book Review

‘Mosquitoland’

10/21/2015

 

“I am Mary Iris Malone, and I am not okay.” Mim has believed this for the past 16 years of her life.

By David Arnold Viking Publishing March 2015 Hardcover $17.99 342 pages

By David Arnold
Viking Publishing
March 2015
Hardcover $17.99
342 pages

Mim lives in Jackson, Mississippi, with her father and stepmother, Kathy, but she refers to her hometown as Mosquitoland, and it doesn’t feel like home. After discovering that her beloved mother is sick back home in Cleveland, Mim decides to steal her stepmother’s coffee can full of cash and take the Greyhound bus to Ohio by Labor Day, which is only four days away. Mim is no ordinary teenager. She may or may not suffer from a mental disease, she’s temporarily blind in one eye, and she has a displaced epiglottis and can vomit on command. All of these issues come into play as she travels 947 miles and meets a host of strangers — some heroic, some villainous — but most are somewhere in between who change her life.

What starts on a bus with strangers ends in a pickup truck with friends. She meets Walt, a homeless teenager with Down Syndrome living under a bridge in Kentucky; and Beck, a gorgeous 20-something college boy who was on the bus with her and becomes her first innocent romantic love interest. This trip is anything but easy. At times it’s so hard that you don’t know whether to love or hate Mim — but there is hope. This is Mim’s journey of self-discovery in all of its honest glory. Mim turns her outrage at the world inward, examining the worst parts of herself while nurturing the best ones. With Walt and Beck, she uncovers the person she really wants to be. CV

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