Cover image for Munmun
Title:
Munmun

Mun mun
Title:
Munmun
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
New York : Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, [2018]
Physical Description:
404 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Abstract:
In an alternate reality a lot like our world, every person's physical size is directly proportional to their wealth. The poorest of the poor are the size of rats, and billionaires are the size of skyscrapers. Warner and his sister Prayer are destitute and tiny. Their size is not just demeaning, but dangerous: day and night they face mortal dangers that bigger richer people don't ever have to think about, from being mauled by cats to their house getting stepped on. There are no cars or phones built small enough for them, or schools or hospitals, for that matter, there's no point, when no one that little has any purchasing power, and when salaried doctors and teachers would never fit in buildings so small. Warner and Prayer know their only hope is to scale up, but how can two little poors survive in a world built against them?

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Summary

Summary

In an alternate reality a lot like our world, every person's physical size is directly proportional to their wealth. The poorest of the poor are the size of rats, and billionaires are the size of skyscrapers.

Warner and his sister Prayer are destitute--and tiny. Their size is not just demeaning, but dangerous: day and night they face mortal dangers that bigger richer people don't ever have to think about, from being mauled by cats to their house getting stepped on. There are no cars or phones built small enough for them, or schools or hospitals, for that matter--there's no point, when no one that little has any purchasing power, and when salaried doctors and teachers would never fit in buildings so small. Warner and Prayer know their only hope is to scale up, but how can two littlepoors survive in a world built against them?

A brilliant, warm, funny trip, unlike anything else out there, and a social novel for our time in the tradition of 1984 or Invisible Man . Inequality is made intensely visceral by an adventure and tragedy both hilarious and heartbreaking.


Author Notes

Jesse Andrews is an American author and screenwriter. He was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, and graduated from Schenley High School and Harvard University.

His debut novel, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, won the Cybils Award for Young Adult Fiction when it was published in 2012. Andrews wrote the feature-film adaptation of his novel, also entitled Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. The film premiered at the 2015 Sundance film festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-"Being littlepoor is notsogood," observes Warner, the rat-size narrator of this thought-provoking dystopian epic in which humans' physical size mirrors the amount of "munmun" (money) in their bank accounts. The protagonist, along with his sister Prayer and their friend Usher, set out across the semi-recognizable landscape of southern California with a scheme to earn enough munmun to "scale up" to at least middlepoor. The journey doesn't go as planned, and in the fallout, the companions endure alternate-world versions of the myriad indignities and outright dangers that poor and homeless teens face in today's America: condescension, manipulation, mind-numbing jobs, indifferent justice and health care systems, graphically depicted sexual abuse, and the middlerich attitude that the poor should be grateful for any crumbs they get. It's not subtle in the way that Gulliver's Travels, M.T. Anderson's Feed, and Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" series aren't subtle; it's social commentary with a bite. This book also includes action and humor to leaven the mix. It evokes Patrick Ness's "Chaos Walking" trilogy in its stream-of-consciousness narration, full of invented words and spellings that reflect Warner's littlepoor illiteracy. This world has no clear racial or ethnic groups, but skin colors that include rubyred and gray; a shared dream space where people communicate; and the "scaling" process that changes people's sizes in tandem with their financial fortunes. Readers will race to reach the conclusion and Warner's appropriately Pyrrhic victory. VERDICT Endlessly discussable and a first purchase for public and high school libraries.-Beth Wright Redford, Richmond Elementary School, VT © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

In Yewess, an alternate America where money (called munmun) dictates one's physical size, 14-year-old Warner, his older sister Prayer, and their disabled mother (all rat-size "littlepoors") are barely surviving; the siblings' father was crushed when someone stepped on their house. Warner finds some solace in the communal slumberland of Dreamworld, where everyone is "middlescale." The siblings set off with their friend Usher to find a rich husband for Prayer, but their journey is fraught with indignities and danger ("If we just all stick together then no one's getting facechewed by a rat today," says Warner as they set out). After being jailed, Warner is freed when a young woman named Kitty makes him her pet project; her wealthy father offers him a chance at success, but "scaling up" comes with a price. In a brash and wildly inventive novel, Andrews (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl) effectively uses a gonzo alternate reality to frame urgent issues that include income inequality, rampant consumerism, and class disparity. Warner may be small, but his giant heart and brutally honest narration propel this intense, cuttingly funny novel. Ages 14-up. Agent: Claudia Ballard, William Morris Endeavor. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Here's a bizarre premise: in Andrews' scathing satire of economic inequality, rich citizens scale up to hundreds of feet tall, towering over littlepoors so small they live in shoeboxes. Getting out of poverty is almost impossible when there are no schools small enough to learn in, and it takes hours to traverse the distance a rich person could walk in a single step. But littlepoor Warner is trying to scale up anyway. In a wry, rage-filled voice peppered with A Clockwork Orange-type slang, Warner narrates his Dickensian journey through an unjust system designed to keep bigriches gigantic and littlepoors miniscule. Andrews gives himself a gargantuan task here, and there are elements that don't deliver. For a novel skewering a system so inexorably tied to race, for instance, the absence of a critique of racism is glaring. And yet, there are pithy, sharp moments, too, particularly the illuminating descriptions of the vast, visible gulf between rich and poor. Though it occasionally misses the mark, it nevertheless offers a unique, caustic, thought-provoking lampoon of America's obsession with wealth.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist