Summary and book reviews of Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

Lawn Boy

by Jonathan Evison

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison X
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Apr 2018, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2019, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
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About this Book

Book Summary

Lawn Boy is an important, entertaining, and completely winning novel about social class distinctions, about overcoming cultural discrimination, and about standing up for oneself.

For Mike Muñoz, a young Chicano living in Washington State, life has been a whole lot of waiting for something to happen. Not too many years out of high school and still doing menial work - and just fired from his latest gig as a lawn boy on a landscaping crew - he knows that he's got to be the one to shake things up if he's ever going to change his life. But how?

In this funny, angry, touching, and ultimately deeply inspiring novel, bestselling author Jonathan Evison takes the reader into the heart and mind of a young man on a journey to discover himself, a search to find the secret to achieving the American dream of happiness and prosperity. That's the birthright for all Americans, isn't it? If so, then what is Mike Muñoz's problem? Though he tries time and again to get his foot on the first rung of that ladder to success, he can't seem to get a break. But then things start to change for Mike, and after a raucous, jarring, and challenging trip, he finds he can finally see the future and his place in it. And it's looking really good.

Excerpt
Lawn Boy

When I was five years old, back when my old man was still sort of around, I watched a promotional video for Disneyland that my mom got in the free box of VHS tapes at the library. Basically, the video was a virtual tour of the Disneyland grounds. I guess you could say it was a harbinger of things to come, because what really sparked my burgeoning imagination, more than all the fanfare and rides, was the fastidious land-scaping: the big, perfectly formed Donald Duck– and Pluto-shaped bushes, the vibrant floral beds depicting Mickey and Minnie, and the impeccably manicured lawns. It looked like paradise to me. I would have given anything to experience Disneyland. For months, all I talked about was the Happiest Place on Earth. Mom said if we scrimped and saved hard enough, and we stayed with my dad's family in El Sereno, maybe we could pull off such a visit.

"What do you think, Victor?" she said to my old man, sprawled on the sofa.

"We'll see about it," ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Evison's prose is sharp, and the situations he describes (such as an ill-fated occupation of a Walmart and an even less well-advised anti–puppy mill protest outside a pet store) offer opportunities for broad humor. But he also clearly cares deeply for the characters about whom he writes, and Lawn Boy is also a profoundly humanistic and hopeful novel at its core. Young Mike is an idealist – and readers - adults and young adults alike - will be rooting for him to upend the systems that seem to conspire to keep him down. Funny, romantic, and big-hearted, Lawn Boy just might be the Great American Landscaping Novel we didn't know we needed.   (Reviewed by Norah Piehl).

Full Review (548 words).

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Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A book about triumphing over obstacles, and obstacles, and obstacles, and more obstacles.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Moving ... Focusing on the workers who will only ever be welcome in gated communities as hired help, Evison's quiet novel beautifully considers the deterioration of the American Dream.

Booklist
Starred Review. In his bighearted portrayal of Mike Muñoz, Evison has created an indelible human spirit content to live authentically, which just might prove to be the true American dream.

Library Journal
Starred Review. [A] deeply real portrait of an everyday Joe just trying to find his way. Evison combines humor, honesty, and anger with an insightful commentary on class that's also an effective coming-of-age novel.

Author Blurb Kristin Hannah, author of The Nightingale
Jonathan Evison's voice is pure magic...It's a journey you won't want to miss, with an ending you won't forget.

Author Blurb Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Book of Joan
A triumph from the ground up ... finally a book that zooms in on social strata without flinching or copping out. Lawn Boy takes us into the heart, mind and body of Mike Muñoz as he makes a coming of age trek from landscaping crew to navigating the dead American dream--all the way to re imagining a future on his own terms.

Author Blurb Luis Alberto Urrea, author of Queen of America
Jonathan Evison can write about anything and make it sing with hard-bitten empathy. I love it that he writes about working men without condescension. I had jobs like this. And you can tell that he did, too. Tough and strangely sweet at the same time.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Great Topiary Gardens

Mike Muñoz might be a magician with a mower and a wizard with a weed whacker, but his real talent is topiary. If, like Mike, you thrill to see people, animals and mythical creatures carved from living trees and shrubs, here are a few great public topiary gardens to add to your itinerary.


Levens Hall, Cumbria, England
Levens HallRegarded as perhaps the oldest topiary garden in the world, the layout and design of this country estate's 100-piece topiary garden has remained largely unchanged since it was originally planted in the late seventeenth century.

Montreal Botanical Garden, Montreal, Canada
Montreal Botanical GardensTechnically called "mosaiculture" rather than topiary, the botanical sculptures at the Montreal Botanical Garden consist of plants grown on two...

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