A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Munmun uses a fantastical premise to make a point about modern-day capitalism. It satirizes common conceptions of race, class, and power and offers opportunities for discussion of economics.
No one's worth as a human being should be measured by their wealth or their physical stature. Compassion and empathy are worth more than maintaining a high social status.
Positive Role Models
Warner cares deeply about what is left of his family, especially his sister, Prayer. Although he is often beaten in prison, he retains a measure of kindness. He works hard to educate himself, even though he meets with giant setbacks. He changes for the better over the course of the novel.
Violence & Scariness
Munmun has scenes of violence, but most are understated until the climax, when a character goes on a rampage and likely kills a person. To protect his sister from sexual assault, Warner shoots a gun at an apartment window. He's sent to prison, where he's often beaten.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Warner and his peers refer to sex as "banging," and have some modest experience with it, but no sexual acts are described. Warner has a crush on a local girl.
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Infrequent swearing (mostly "hell" and "damn," with one or two instances of "tits" and "dick") until the climax, where there are a half-dozen instances of "s--t" and "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Warner gets drunk with some friends one evening. Later, he becomes dependent on performance-enhancing drugs.
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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.
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.
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