Mosquitoland by David Arnold | Book Review

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Title:  Mosquitoland
Author: David Arnold
Publisher: Viking Children's
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
"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.

What I thought

This book was the perfect example of how I like my contemporary: quirky, deep but not too serious, and with a main character that recognizes she isn't perfect, but hell, she's pretty damn awesome. That and the fact that if this book was a heart, it would be one of the biggest hearts out there in the world.

I fully believe that Mosquitoland works as well as it does because of it's writing style, but mostly because of Mary Iris Malone. Let me tell you, girl fell completely real and her journey, although a bit magical in essence, was all too there. Not only that, but the collection of characters and people she finds along the way felt just as real. Perhaps, the only character that feels more like fiction than person is Mim's mom, and I believe this to be an intentional move (and if it's not, well, let the myth live so that people can praise David Arnold's genius like we do all those other white dudes who probably weren't as brilliant as we would like to believe) and a brilliant one at that.

I want to talk about Mim's little chosen family, because boy Walt and Beck were the real deal. They were both so fleshed out and although we saw them through Mim's eyes all the time they still felt like real people. Perhaps they were even more real because all we ever have of people is perception, and we can only ever know them as we see them. Does that make sense? This book made me think about things like that, and in my book that is a job well done.

I would also like to talk about the themes in this book, for although the main one is about finding home and what that means, there are other ones sprinkled here and there. Some of them, like the Poncho Man incident, I would have liked to delve into deeper. However, they were all sufficiently spoken of and about and the book didn't drag.

Another thing I loved about this book, is its comedic aspect. It was just my style. Take for example this quote:

"And you are...?" asks Moses A) Perfect B) The god of Devastating Attractiveness C) A flawless specimen, created in a lab by mad scientists in an effort to toy with the heart of Mary Isis Malone D) All of the above I circle D. Final effing answer 
I loved this book and Mim and her journey. I would definitely recommend this book to all contemporary lovers out there. 


  1. This book sounds so good! I'm kind of miffed I hadn't come across this sooner, but now that I have (and since you loved it so much) I can't wait to pick it up some day soon! Great review, Laura- quirky and deep, but not too serious is right up my alley too! :)

    Ruzaika @ The Regal Critiques

    1. It's super good. You should pick it up, it's one of my favorite contemporary books now. Seriously, I can't tell you enough how good this book is.