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Lawn Boy
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Lawn Boy
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Winner of the Alex Award"Mike Muñoz Is a Holden Caulfield for a New Millennium—a '10th-generation peasant with a Mexican last name, raised by a single mom on an Indian reservation' . . ....
Winner of the Alex Award"Mike Muñoz Is a Holden Caulfield for a New Millennium—a '10th-generation peasant with a Mexican last name, raised by a single mom on an Indian reservation' . . ....
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Description-

  • Winner of the Alex Award
    "Mike Muñoz Is a Holden Caulfield for a New Millennium—a '10th-generation peasant with a Mexican last name, raised by a single mom on an Indian reservation' . . . Evison, as in his previous four novels, has a light touch and humorously guides the reader, this time through the minefield that is working-class America." —The New York Times Book Review
    For Mike Muñoz, life has been a whole lot of waiting for something to happen. Not too many years out of high school and still doing menial work—and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew—he's smart enough to know that he's got to be the one to shake things up if he's ever going to change his life. But how? He's not qualified for much of anything. He has no particular talents, although he is stellar at handling a lawn mower and wielding clipping shears. But now that career seems to be behind him. So what's next for Mike Muñoz?
    In this funny, biting, touching, and ultimately inspiring novel, bestselling author Jonathan Evison takes the reader into the heart and mind of a young man determined to achieve the American dream of happiness and prosperity—who just so happens to find himself along the way.

 

Awards-

About the Author-

  • Jonathan Evison is the author of the novels All About LuluWest of HereThe Revised Fundamentals of CaregivingThis Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, Lawn Boy, and Legends of the North Cascades. He lives with his wife and family in Washington State.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from February 5, 2018
    This moving fifth novel from Evison (This is Your Life, Harriet Chance) enters the wry, conflicted mind of Mike Muñoz, a recently fired yard worker with a real talent for topiary and a genuine love for landscaping. When Mike is sacked after refusing to comply with a client’s orders to pick up after his dog, he takes refuge in the one place in the world that’s always welcomed him: the library. As he tries to figure out what to do next, Mike contemplates writing the “Great American Landscaping Novel”—the sort of novel he’d like to read—but writing novels, he realizes, isn’t for people like him: “landscapers, especially unemployed ones... had bills to pay. Cars to fix. Disabled siblings to care for.” Evison convincingly evokes the small disasters and humiliations that beset America’s working poor. Mike’s gradual growth into self-awareness is punctuated by moments of human kindness and grace that transpire in and among broken-down trucks, trailer parks, and strip malls. Focusing on the workers who will only ever be welcome in gated communities as hired help, Evison’s quiet novel beautifully considers the deterioration of the American Dream. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media.

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2018
    An aimless young man decides to get his life together, but life has other plans.Mike Muoz 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.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2018

    Eminently readable and deeply thought-provoking, Evison's deceptively simple novel takes on tough issues such as race, sexual identity, and the crushing weight of American capitalism. Mike Muñoz, the 22-year-old biracial (Mexican and white) narrator, has grown up dirt-poor with his hardworking waiter mother and his brother, who is developmentally disabled. The narrative follows Mike's attempts at several other jobs after he's fired from his lawn-mowing gig while he works on his love life and tries to help out his family. After Mike recounts a great disappointment involving his biological father in the first chapter, one of several themes emerges as Mike encounters several potential father figures (often bosses), each with his own deeply flawed philosophy of life. From the cutthroat capitalism of his first boss to the upper-class cronyism of an old high school pal, each man personifies aspects of Mike's life that he cannot stand, even while he learns valuable lessons from them. Meanwhile, other story lines fix on Mike's underdeveloped understanding of his sexuality, which is not helped by the rampant homophobia and sexism of his best friend, and his equally conflicted understanding of his ethnic identity. Unfortunately, Evison's often infective enthusiasm for his preponderance of ideas weighs down the demands of the plot. Nevertheless, the passion with which Mike and Evison share these ideas redeems the novel. VERDICT Give this flawed but exciting coming-of-age story to teens eager to engage with heavy and timely political issues.-Mark Flowers, Rio Vista Library, CA

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from March 1, 2018
    Meet Mike Mu�oz, a 22-year-old landscaper who spends his days mowing lawns and edging flower beds, his evenings taking care of his disabled brother, and his nights dreaming about elaborate topiary and writing the great American novel. When Mike is fired for refusing to pick up rain-sodden St. Bernard feces, he embarks on a path of self-discovery that introduces an eccentric cast of characters, including a shrewd entrepreneur with questionable business practices, an ambitious but unscrupulous realtor, an eccentric housemate who provides bass guitar accompaniment while watching classic porn, a group of hipster bearded baristas who favor artisanal sandwiches, and Andrew, a philosophical librarian with an activist streak. Evison (This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! 2015) excels at finding the humanity in his characters, and even the most loathsome are given redeeming qualities. This tender bildungsroman follows Mike from one setback to another, each interaction involving slyly observant and brilliantly witty dialogue that also poignantly conveys vulnerability. Evison skillfully weaves the American Dream into a subtle social novel to illustrate how race and class can thwart aspiration. In his bighearted portrayal of Mike Mu�oz, Evison has created an indelible human spirit content to live authentically, which just might prove to be the true American dream. For readers of Sam Lipsyte and Jonathan Tropper.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from January 1, 2018

    Mike Munoz just can't seem to get ahead. It's one crappy landscaping job after another. He likes being outside and dreams of creating elaborate topiary but can't stand working for "the man." Mike is his own worst enemy. He spends most of his free time taking care of his disabled adult brother Nate, a tyrant addicted to Despicable Me and Oreos. The rest of his time is spent grubbing quarters out of the sofa to scrape together enough to buy dinner at Mitzel's so he can catch a glimpse of his favorite waitress. But he has a plan for self-improvement, and it involves the library. There are unlimited books, free AC, and an earnest librarian, Andrew, who might just be the one to help him see his authentic self. VERDICT Readers who are uncomfortable with the author's frequent use of profanity and vulgarity will miss out on a deeply real portrait of an everyday Joe just trying to find his way. Evison combines humor, honesty, and anger with an insightful commentary on class that's also an effective coming-of-age novel. [See Prepub Alert, 10/16/17; library marketing.]--Christine Perkins, Whatcom Cty. Lib. Syst., Bellingham, WA

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    November 15, 2017

    Having collected multiple awards, best-of-year laurels, and movie options, Evison brings us Mike Munoz. Out of high school for awhile and getting nowhere--he's just lost his job on a landscaping crew--Mike struggles to grab the American dream. With a ten-city tour.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Library Journal

    January 1, 2018

    Mike Munoz just can't seem to get ahead. It's one crappy landscaping job after another. He likes being outside and dreams of creating elaborate topiary but can't stand working for "the man." Mike is his own worst enemy. He spends most of his free time taking care of his disabled adult brother Nate, a tyrant addicted to Despicable Me and Oreos. The rest of his time is spent grubbing quarters out of the sofa to scrape together enough to buy dinner at Mitzel's so he can catch a glimpse of his favorite waitress. But he has a plan for self-improvement, and it involves the library. There are unlimited books, free AC, and an earnest librarian, Andrew, who might just be the one to help him see his authentic self. VERDICT Readers who are uncomfortable with the author's frequent use of profanity and vulgarity will miss out on a deeply real portrait of an everyday Joe just trying to find his way. Evison combines humor, honesty, and anger with an insightful commentary on class that's also an effective coming-of-age novel. [See Prepub Alert, 10/16/17; library marketing.]--Christine Perkins, Whatcom Cty. Lib. Syst., Bellingham, WA

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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