Larry and the Meaning of Life Book Poster Image

Larry and the Meaning of Life



Third installment of series with wild plot twists and turns.

What parents need to know


A teen is beaten up, land mines are planted with intent on killing people, a stalker that tried to kill a teen re-emerges.


Talk of a teen hooking up with an adult and there are photos to support it, though it wasn't described in great detail. A teen talks about wanting to kiss several girls.


A few of the milder words.


Larry (Josh) is against consumerism.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Talk of an adult being an alcoholic.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main character gets depressed and seeks guidance from a questionable guru who may be running a cult. Violence includes a teen getting beaten up, land mines planted, and the threat of a possibly murderous stalker. There's talk of a teen hooking up with an adult and a few pictures to prove it.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Josh, also known as Larry, is used to having goals and purpose. The first two books in the series had him running for president and waging a war against rampant consumerism. Now in LARRY AND THE MEANING OF LIFE, Josh finds himself without motivation, sitting on the couch watching reruns, unable to get excited about anything. When his best friend sends him to take a walk at his favorite retreat, he runs into an unlikely guru. Larry is skeptical of Gus and his philosophy, but he doesn't have much else going for him so he decides to give Gus a try. Old friends and enemies pop up at the least expected moments in Josh's journey and the ending is unexpected and shocking.

Is it any good?


Larry and the Meaning of Life can be confusing for those who haven't read the previous books, but there are helpful footnotes Josh provides throughout the novel. Author Janet Tashjian keeps the story moving at a healthy pace and throws in enough plot twists that readers may come out feeling like pretzels. In Josh, Tashjian has a fascinating character with depth, who's smart, engaging, and endearing to her audience.

Readers will find themselves both caught up in the story as it rushes, twists, and turns toward its finish and protective of Josh as he displays distinctive vunerablility. This is a great book for teens who tend to look at the world with more awareness than their peers and it's also for those who are questioning their future and their place in the world.


Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Josh's loss of direction in his life. Have you ever felt like you didn't know what to do next, or what you wanted to do with your life? Josh goes through some pretty extreme experiences to get himself back on track. How do you refocus on your goals? Families can also talk about how to set goals and how to deal with depression. Do you have someone you can talk to if you feel down? Do you know the difference between depression and just having the blues?

Book details

Author:Janet Tashjian
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:September 16, 2008
Number of pages:224
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 14

This review of Larry and the Meaning of Life was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

Top advice and articles

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Family Media Agreement