So begins the saga of Mim. Stranded in Mississippi with her father and step mother, Mim decides to escape and return to the place where she feels that she belongs: with her mother in Cleveland. "It's a narrow place, where Mom ends and Mim begins." She recounts the journey through a collection of letters, which she refers to as her Book of Reasons. "...reasons are hard. I'm standing on a whole stack of them right now, with barely a notion of how I got up here." These epistles are stitched together with her running commentary.
Mim's voice, equal parts pain-laden and whip-smart, captivated me. I was with her every anxious moment of the journey: cheering for her, puzzling over some of her decisions, and ultimately weeping for her. An amazing, frightening, heartbreaking young woman is our young protagonist.
What made the story even better are the eccentric characters she meets: Arlene, Caleb, Poncho Man, Ahab, and Walt. They come into her life in unexpected ways and a few exit in even more unexpected ways. And the not-to-be-forgotten Beck. I could easily devote an entire paragraph to discussing him. What a guy!
As I read, I was also surprised at how visual the story became. I found myself picturing the wooden box, a solitary tube of lipstick, a JanSport backpack, a Rubik's cube, and truck named Uncle Phil.
Those images began to fill my mind, spilling over into my consciousness of the world around me. My camera captured a few of them.
Mosquitoland by David Arnold