Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Reviewed by Kimi
David Arnold’s novel Mosquitoland tells the tale of a quirky teenager named Mim Malone who embarks on a long road trip to find her mom. After her parents suddenly split up, Mim’s life falls into chaos as she leaves her beloved home in Ohio and moves to Mississippi with her dad and despised stepmother, Kathy. Soon, Mim learns that her mother, the one person who loved her endlessly, is sick back in Cleveland. The eccentric protagonist then sets off on an eventful four-day bus trip to find her mom in Cleveland. Along the way Mim makes new friends and enemies, and questions her perspective in life. She learns about love, abandonment, mental illness, and even death on her journey. She steps on the bus one person, and exits as another.
Mosquitoland is like a big soup that still tastes decent even though it has dozens of ingredients thrown in. In other words, this novel has a little bit of everything. It contains romance, comedy, mystery, and adventure, without drifting away from Mim’s original goal. Because of this, I believe this novel would appeal to a wide variety of people because it has something for each and every reader. On the other hand, having such a wide variety of topics made the novel extremely unrealistic. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but it seemed like way too many unlikely things happened to Mim in the course of only three or four days. I believe Arnold just wanted to write about every dark and deep subject he could think of, like death, mental illness, and assault, but attempting to include them all in one long book made the novel unrealistic and difficult to learn from. The book was entertaining and kept me reading more, but I did not learn anything life-changing because of the improbability of the entire plot.
I would give Mosquitoland a three point five out of five stars. There were many things I enjoyed in the book, but there were also a few qualities I did not like. I loved how the book kept surprising me with a new twist on every page. Originally, I expected the book to be predictable, but it turned out to be completely different than what I originally expected. Mim’s journey to reach her mom also is a journey to find herself. Another thing I enjoyed was Mim as a character, despite her many flaws. She was quirky and could be sassy and rude, and I liked reading about how she views the world and goes about life. Whenever I read an amazing book, I remember it in detail for years afterward. Mosquitoland was indeed an entertaining read, but I do not think I will remember the complicated storyline because it was very unrealistic and did not greatly impact me. But, I will remember Mim because she was so unique but also funny and engaging. Overall, if you are looking for a book that you can read a little bit every day, I would recommend Mosquitoland.