Friday, July 6, 2018

Lawn boy, by Jonathan Evison

Think your life is tough?  Well, for Mike Munoz, it has been unremittingly tough, but he does the best he can. In his early twenties, he works for a landscaper mowing lawns and tending wealthy peoples’ gardens on Bainbridge Island near Seattle.  His Mexican-American father has abandoned his wife, but not before having Mike, and his severely disabled brother, Nate.  Although none of them are Native-American, they live in a squalid trailer on the res.  His mother has tried marriage a couple more times, but neither was much of an improvement over Victor Munoz and neither relationship lasted.  When not mowing lawns, Mike is often in charge of babysitting his 300 pound difficult brother so his mother can work one of her jobs.  He seems rather resigned to his lot in life, but dreams of better – perhaps even becoming a topiary artist or writing the Great American Landscaping Novel. And he would like to go out on a real date.  Then he loses his job and things go further downhill fast.  Sounds depressing as hell, and it sometimes is, but there is a core of sweetness and hope in this touching novel.  I had a bit of trouble getting into it, but was very glad I kept going.  Recommended.  312 pp.

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