A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Munmun is an edgy satire set in a world where how big you are is determined by how much money you have. Written by Jesse Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) it examines themes of race, wealth, and power. Main character Warner is "littlepoor," which means he's the size of a rat. Violence plays a role in the story -- Warner is beaten badly in prison and later goes on a rampage that likely kills at least one person. There's occasional talk of "banging," but no depiction of sexual activity. Strong language is not too frequent until the climax, and includes "hell," "damn," "s--t," and "f--k." Late in the novel, Warner becomes dependent on performance-enhancing drugs.
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What's the story?
As MUNMUN opens, young Warner is desperate to have his fragile family "scale up" and stop being the size of rats. After attempting to rescue his sister, Prayer, from a sexual assault, Warner spends a harsh year in jail, before being rescued by a family of philanthropists. They give him the opportunity to pursue an education, but Warner never seems to manage moving ahead. Able to enter other people's dreams, he develops a plan to overturn the system that keeps him and those he loves small, frightened, and powerless.
Is it any good?
Once in a while a book comes along that attempts something truly unique, and this funny, heartbreaking, and complex fantasy/sci-fi novel ably accomplishes the unexpected. With hints of Charles Dickens and Jonathan Swift, Munmun satirizes late-stage capitalism, finding a perfect metaphor for how money and politics shape the world. Author Jesse Andrews employs a slangy, run-on prose style that takes some getting used to, but once they have a handle on it, most readers will find the dialect enhances the tale. Smart, risk-taking, and hilarious, Munmun will appeal to readers who enjoy Kurt Vonnegut and Douglas Adams, or who are outraged by the current political climate.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Munmun uses satire to make its point. How can humor illuminate a topic that might otherwise be thought of as serious, complicated, or academic?
Munmun is written in a non-standard version of English. What effect does that choice have on the story? What are the challenges of using dialect?
How is violence used in Munmun? How does it affect those characters who cause or confront it? What other strategies might the characters employ to change things?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love Fantasy and satire
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