Words

Identity Crisis

A look at Lawn Boy

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MORE: I also recommend two of Evison’s other novels—All About Lulu (about a vegetarian in a family of bodybuilders who develops a crush on his new step-sister) and West of Here, a sweeping historical saga about the Olympic Peninsula juxtaposed with the modern story of the removal of the dams along the Elwha River.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

When Bainbridge Island author Jonathan Evison visited Whatcom County in 2017 as part of the Whatcom READS program, we met a gregarious, intelligent, self-destructive and endearing writer who loves to talk about books and drink beer—a lot of beer. 

He presents himself as a bit of a sad sack, an Everyman, but there’s a certain twinkle in his eye and twitch to his lip that indicates his brain is going a mile a minute and he’s got a lot to say, much like the lead character in his latest novel, Lawn Boy.

Mike Muñoz is just scraping by, grinding out one crappy landscaping gig after another. Topiary is his passion, but for now “the man” is keeping him down (or maybe it’s that he’s his own worst enemy?). 

When he’s not sweating at work, Mike’s taking care of Nate, his developmentally disabled adult brother with a major attitude. Nate’s nothing short of a tyrant, and while Mike loves him fiercely, Nate can be a little much. Nate’s addicted to Oreos and has watched Despicable Me dozens of times. Mike is clearly lonely, but his limited income doesn’t leave much cash flow for impressing the ladies. Mostly he lurks around Mitzel’s hoping to catch a glimpse of the waitress he thinks he has a crush on.

When Mike loses his latest job after refusing to pick up a client’s dog poop, it’s time to kick his plan for self-improvement into gear and head to the public library. Though the small but daily disasters continue to pile up, the library’s got AC, plenty of self-help books and a lovable librarian named Andrew to help Mike discover his authentic self.

It’s rare to read a novel that is both compassionate about the plight of the working class and unsparingly honest. Evison can find moments of beauty and humanity among the strip malls and trailer parks.  Through Mike, he explores what it’s like to grow up biracial, broke and fatherless. As Mike careens from one warped father figure to another, trying to achieve his dreams and understand his ethnic and sexual identities, we laugh, wince, cry and shake our heads along with him. Evison can be vulgar and blunt, but his characters are sweet at heart and vulnerable.

Whatcom County Library System and its partner, Bellingham Public Library, have plenty of copies of Lawn Boy at the ready for checkout at libraries around the area (with eBook and various audiobook formats on order). Take a break from mowing and weeding and borrow a library copy today!

Christine Perkins is the Executive Director of the Whatcom County Library System.

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Today
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

12:00pm

Imagine Convergence on Orcas Island

12:00pm|Rosario Resort

Peter Pan, A Musical Adventure

7:00pm|Meridian High School

Dyo Festival Plays

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Bellingham Puppetry and Mask Festival

7:30pm|Alternative Library

SICBA Home & Garden Show

11:00am|Skagit County Fairgrounds

Tarnation, Ryan Stiles

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

The Pageturners

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Pancake Breakfast

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Honeywagon Runs

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Nordic Roots Seminar

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NSEA Work Party

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Native Plant Sale

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Make It and Take it

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WNPS Field Trip

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Spring Studio Seconds Sale

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Quilt Museum Annex Open House

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Youth Ag Day

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Sumas Writers Group

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Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

Dahlias Made Easy

11:00am|Christianson's Nursery

Free My Heart

12:00pm|Village Books

Tax Help Available

12:30pm|First Congregational Church

Fidalgo and Mount Baker Youth Symphonies

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Forest Bathing

1:00pm|Rockport State Park

A Family Immigration Story

1:00pm

Cheese Classes

5:00pm|Chuckanut Center

PechuKucha Night

5:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

Contra Dance with the Alphabeats

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Manouche NW Concert Series

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Giovanni & the Camino of St. Francis

7:00pm|Village Books

Gabriel and Rebecca Manalac

7:30pm|Jansen Art Center

Skagit Symphony's Masterpiece Concert

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

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Tomorrow
Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Imagine Convergence on Orcas Island

12:00pm|Rosario Resort

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

12:00pm

SICBA Home & Garden Show

11:00am|Skagit County Fairgrounds

The Pageturners

7:30pm|ACT Annex

Skagit Beer Week

11:00am|Skagit Valley

Rabbit Ride

8:30am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

History Tour

12:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Legally Blonde, the Musical

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Murder & Mayhem

3:00pm|Everson Library

Poems for Peace

3:00pm|The Happy Place

Powerful in pink

3:00pm

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Classy Comedy

7:00pm|Upfront Theatre

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Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest

8:00am|Whatcom County

La Conner Daffodil Festival

10:00am|La Conner and the Skagit Valley

Essence of Bellingham Photo Competition

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Skagit Beer Week

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Community Soup Kitchen

6:00pm|Little Cheerful Cafe

Monday Night Pizza

6:00pm|Ciao Thyme Commons

Poetrynight

7:00pm|Alternative Library

Open Mic Night

7:00pm|Village Books

Guffawingham

9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

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