Bibliophile | Munmun is a brilliant satire on the “Amerrycan Dream”

by Jesse Andrews
Allen & Unwin

Imagine a world where physical size is directly proportional to how much money you have. In this Gulliver’s Travels world, the littlepoor are rat-sized and the bigrich are the size of skyscrapers. Difficult to imagine but there is a munmun scale at the front of the book to continually refer to. Thirteen year-old Warner and his sister fifteen year-old Prayer are destitute and tiny.

When a middlerich treads on their house and kills their dad and their mum’s spine is broken after being attacked by a cat, they know they have to come up with some kind of plan in this lifeanddeath world to scale up.

Warner and Prayer leave home with a plan that is daring and unrealistic but Warner does have one thing going for him – he excels in creating ‘sumpchewus’ dreamscapes. This works at one level where he is determined to reach his potential, knowing that “the Lord King God is truly good to those who work hard and dream big”.

At the other level, Warner actually creates wondrous dreams when he sleeps and other people can enjoy them. Most other people can’t dream whatever they want and Warner discovers how special this talent is.

Of course the young adventurers discover that there is a cost to changing your munmun status and consequently your size. With little wordy or mathy skills (there were no schools for the little poor as teachers couldn’t fit inside the small buildings), Warner finds it difficult to adjust to being wealthier and bigger. It affects his relationships, his ‘printsapulls’ and even the person he is.

This brilliant satire on the ‘Amerrycan Dream’ is targeted to Young Adults, but this shouldn’t stop older readers from getting hold of this and going for the ride of their life.

Jesse Andrews will give a talk at a free event on 11 May (7pm – 8pm) at the Scribblers Festival which runs 9-13 May. See for more details.

Lezly Herbert


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