Friday, July 23, 2010


Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
Wendy Lamb Books, 2007
ISBN: 9780385746861
88 pages
3.5 out of 5

One day I was twelve years old and broke.  I set out to mow some lawns with Grandpa's old riding mower.  One client was Arnold the stockbroker, who offered to teach me about: the beauty of capitalism.  Supply and demand.  Diversifying labor.  Distributing wealth.  "It's groovy man," Arnold said.

The grass grew, and so did the business. Arnold invested my money in many things.  One of them was a prizefighter.  All of a sudden I was the sponsor of my very own fighter, Joey Pow.  That's when my twelfth summer got really interesting.

Gary Paulsen's comic story about a summer job becomes a slapstick lesson in business as one boy turns a mountain of grass into a mountain of cash.
 This description is from the hardcover edition.

The first line of this book really got my attention: "It all began at nine in the morning on my twelfth birthday when my grandmother gave me an old riding lawn mower."  That was the most interesting part.

I like the first person perspective.  It's done very well and sounds enough like a kid that readers could relate.  My main problem is that some of the monetary details go pretty far before he says he was confused.  My brain turned to snooze when this was going on.  The most surprising part is what Lawn Boy does, actually doesn't do, when he has the sudden rush of cash.

Also the action is kind of like a Disney movie.  There's just enough danger or interest to get you to think something big(ger) is about to happen, but before you have a chance to really enjoy it a resolution is found. 

Overall it was a short, enjoyable book. I'm used to longer novels, and this is perhaps why I feel on the fence about this book.  There is a sequel, Lawn Boy Returns, so perhaps that will satiate my desire for more story.

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