Sunday, 5 August 2018

Munmun by Jesse Andrews

          This is a peculiar tale, the blurb describes it as warm and funny but that isn't what I took from it.  Don't get me wrong I did enjoy it but for me it was rather dystopian and downright chilling in places - maybe I was overthinking things and putting a far more literary bent on it than was intended by the author.  For me this was more than just the face-of-it tale but it was about the barely hidden parallels to modern society and constantly whilst reading those would jump out at me so I was unable to seperate them from the tale.

Munmun takes place in a world similar to ours but with some striking differences.  On the whole your size denotes your net worth, your wealth and the whole process of how that is figured out is quite daunting and it is explained to us in a manageable way.  Our main protagonist is Warner, littlepoor, rat sized Warner with a dead father and a crippled mother and an annoying sister, Prayer.  The tale centres around their adventures as Prayer moves to Sand Dreamough (accompanied by Warner and his best friend stuttering, limping Usher) to besiege the Middlerich bastion of learning and snare a husband that can scale her up.  Not the best plan but it is all they have.

What follows is a treatise on how life seems to be, how your place in the world determines the treatment you receive from others and how "bettering yourself" is not as easy as those who already have much, much more than you would have you believe.  The story takes place between the rather depressing Lifeanddeathworld and the psychedelic Dreamworld - on the whole, I think I would take Dreamworld if I was Warner.

It is definitely an unsettling read and one that I feel sure will creep on to school syllabuses as there is a lot to discuss here and lots of symbolism.  Heck, you can even argue about the place names and who the Bigrich are supposed to represent - although that will depend on the times the book is read in and who people perceive to be the uber-wealthy.  Normally this is the sort of book that I struggle to complete, finding that all the things I perceive behind the words on the page cause the story to be lost.  Somehow this didn't happen here and I found that I was existing in my own parallels of Lifeanddeathworld and Dreamworld where part of me was enjoying Warner's life story and another part was analysing for all it was worth.

On the whole an enjoyable story that does make you think - even when you don't want to!
       

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