Munmun
by Andrews, Jesse






In a society where a person's size is directly proportional to his or her wealth, littlepoor Warner, thirteen, and Prayer, fifteen, struggle to improve their lot in a world built against them.





Jesse Andrews is the New York Times bestselling author of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and the screenwriter of that book’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize–winning movie adaptation. He’s also the author of The Haters, which Booklist called “effortlessly readable, deeply enjoyable,” in a starred review. He lives in Brooklyn.
 





Here's a bizarre premise: in Andrews' scathing satire of economic inequality, rich citizens "scale up" to hundreds of feet tall, towering over "littlepoors" so small they live in shoeboxes. Getting out of poverty is almost impossible when there are no schools small enough to learn in, and it takes hours to traverse the distance a rich person could walk in a single step. But littlepoor Warner is trying to scale up anyway. In a wry, rage-filled voice peppered with A Clockwork Orange-type slang, Warner narrates his Dickensian journey through an unjust system designed to keep bigriches gigantic and littlepoors miniscule. Andrews gives himself a gargantuan task here, and there are elements that don't deliver. For a novel skewering a system so inexorably tied to race, for instance, the absence of a critique of racism is glaring. And yet, there are pithy, sharp moments, too, particularly the illuminating descriptions of the vast, visible gulf between rich and poor. Though it occasionally misses the mark, it nevertheless offers a unique, caustic, thought-provoking lampoon of America's obsession with wealth. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.





In a world where wealth—the titular munmun—determines physical size and people range from littlepoor (rat-small) to bigrich (10 stories tall), three tiny teens set out to scale up; a wild ride ensues. Rendered a paraplegic by a cat who bats her about like a rat, Warner's mother orders him to take his sister, Prayer, to law school and help find her an upscale husband. Warner's skeptical—they're illiterate, for one thing. Usher, a literate friend with palsy who's smitten with Prayer, joins them. Trouble starts when they accept a ride from a middlerich man and end up in his model-train layout. Worse is to come. Prayer's looks, Usher's smarts, and Warner's ability to shape Dreamworld (a place accessible only in deep sleep, where all are of equal scale) fail to prevent disaster. Offered a home and education by a politician, Warner insists Prayer be invited, too. They're hardworking and motivated, but some littlepoor deficits prove intractable. Warner's distinctiv e voice and language compel readers to pay attention to this detailed world. Wealth rather than skin color (orange, ruby, plum, gray) confers status. Bankers Scale Up those who've acquired wealth and Scale Down those who've lost or (rarely) relinquished it. Literally embodied in the characters, income inequality becomes a horrific reality; economic theories and realpolitik sangfroid are juxtaposed with their real-world consequences. Angry and the victim of his best impulses, Warner's no superhero. Superpowers and soothing bromides won't mend his broken, fragile world; pull the right thread and it might unravel. Brilliant, savage, hilarious, a riveting journey through a harsh world that mirrors our own. (Dystopian fantasy. 12-17) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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