Mosquitoland Book Review

David Arnold’s debut novel Mosquitoland is among the most unpredictable and unique narratives that I have ever read. It could be considered a coming of age story, but it falls into many genres. Themes include identity, self-discovery, and the cliche-yet-classic adage “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”. Arnold’s use of monotone humor and witty sarcasm keeps the reader captivated throughout the plot, and each character is a brilliant reflection of modern society.

The story is told through the eyes of high schooler Mim Malone. In the first few chapters, she uproots her entire life with one purpose in mind: a thousand mile voyage sans parents, finances, or transportation. Along the way she meets both foes and friends; the former includes but is not limited to the appropriately-named Poncho Man, who is both a shifty traveler and a commentary on the ways of the world. The friends, some short-lived, are just as intricately written as Mim herself is, such as Beck Van Buren, a college dropout also on a pilgrimage of sorts, and Walt (no last name is provided), the happy-go-luckiest homeless person ever conceived of. However, these four characters simply don’t do justice to the slew of other roles created by Arnold.

The only major pitfall of this novel is also what makes it great: the humor. Arnold has comical writing, but an overuse of his typical irony and sarcasm is apparent once the reader gets into the later parts of the book. This error should not be a deterrent to readers, but it does take away from the overall style of the book. Anyone seeking a modern-yet-classic novel filled to the brim with humor and intellect should seek out this book.


This article was written for Mrs. Wahrenberger’s Journalism class for a summer reading assignment.

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