LAWN BOY by Jonathan Evison

LAWN BOY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An aimless young man decides to get his life together, but life has other plans.

Mike Muñoz doesn’t quite know what he wants out of life, but he knows he deserves better than what he’s got now: a terrible job cutting lawns, a truck that barely runs, and a tiny house packed with a disabled brother, an exhausted mother, and his mother’s broke boyfriend who likes to watch porn in the living room while jamming on his bass guitar. Soon enough, however, he doesn’t even have the job or the truck, and, in an ill-fated attempt to guilt-trip his mom into kicking out her boyfriend, Mike takes up residence in a shed in the backyard. Despite the steady stream of bad luck and worse decisions, Evison (This Is Your Life Harriet Chance, 2015, etc.) brings genuine humor to Mike's trials and tribulations. The writing is razor-sharp, and Evison has an unerring eye for the small details that snap a scene or a character into focus. The first-person narration turns Mike into a living, breathing person, and the reader can’t help but get pulled into his worldview. “After all, most of us are mowing someone else’s lawn, one way or another, and most of us can’t afford to travel the world or live in New York City. Most of us feel like the world is giving us a big fat middle finger when it’s not kicking us in the face with a steel-toed boot. And most of us feel powerless. Motivated but powerless.” The novel has a light tone and is laugh-out-loud funny at times, but at a certain point, Mike's trials and tribulations move from comically frustrating to just frustrating. With so much going wrong for him, the reader can expect that the universe will smile on Mike eventually, but there’s only so many sick family members, unpaid bills, bad jobs, awkward situations, and thwarted plans a character can suffer through. We root for Mike while also wishing we didn’t have to root so hard.

A book about triumphing over obstacles, and obstacles, and obstacles, and more obstacles.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-61620-262-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2018




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