[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]
I admit I skim-read the last 25%; I tried to read more carefully, but at this point, either I skimmed or I DNFed, and I don’t like DNFing.
It is not without good ideas and potential, and it delivers good criticism of a society based on money: in this case, money literally defines your weight in the world, since the poorest people are tiny and get squished by just about anything and anyone, while the richest ones are so big that they tower over everyone and take a lot of space. The plight of the characters, too—the way they have to fight, the desperate schemes they come up with, are (unfortunately, realistically) close to reality, in that when you don’t have much, no matter how you try, your attempts are conditioned by the little means you have. (I do agree that “you have to make efforts to achieve your dreams”, but let’s be honest, it’s very easy to give lessons about how you managed to buy the house of your dreams when you got a nifty inheritance from your grandparents. Prayer’s plan to find herself a husband, as harebrained as it is, does reflect a desperate attempt at doing something with nothing.)
However, I couldn’t really connect with the characters, nor get into the writing style, which tends to combine words together. I get it, I get why it’s done, but for me, it’s jarring (took me a bit of time to realise that the “munmun” of the title is money, although that was because I wasn’t pronouncing it, only reading it at first). It’s like all those cutesy words like ‘preloved’ and ‘choccy’ and all that stuff which, for some reason, is considered as witty, but just falls flat as far as I’m concerned. After a while, I lose interest.
More like 1.5 stars for me, however, I do acknowledge that there are good ideas in here.
I've already read Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, but I decided I'd read it again, before I saw the movie. I'm about halfway through it now, but I have enjoyed it so far. It's, in a way, a more comedic version of The Fault in our Stars, or at the very least, a more realistic version. You figure, you have a teenage boy trying to get through his senior year, and all of a sudden, a girl he barely knows' struggles are are thrown at him by his mother, and he is pressured into getting to know her again. It's not going to be a perfect fantasy.
So far, I can relate to Greg and how he is handling both school and the situation with Rachel. Greg is trying to get through school by staying under-the-radar and being friendly to everyone, while not spending time with them. His only real friend is Earl, as well as the only person he spends any time with at all. Similar to me, I don't really want to get to know anyone except the people I spend my time with, but I want to stay on their good list. I only have a few or so friends I trust and do a lot with. Greg also hasn't spoken to Rachel since he went to Hebrew school, and when he starts hanging out with her again, he doesn't know how to grasp the situation. He gets through it by talking about what's happening seriously occasionally, but also creating jokes and humor out of it, albeit with Rachel's permission. I would do this also, especially if talking about the situation makes the other person uncomfortable. I would want to see them happy.
I think the novel is pretty funny, but Greg is a little scatter-brained some of the time. Because of that, the format of the book is odd, and it may go from the middle of a story to an ending without explanation. Of course, though, this is done on purpose because it is supposed to be a journal or essay of some sort by Greg Gaines. He is also the narrator, so knowing what others are thinking is impossible or unclear at times.
I think that the most important things so far are the themes of self-criticism and struggle. It shows how, even with a mask of comedy and humor, reality lies beneath. It's something you cannot avoid, and, when it comes down to it, you have to talk about it. Greg and Rachel have to do this, and do bring up Rachel's cancer every once in a while, but Greg and her both try to avoid reality. During this entire time, Greg tells himself he isn't supporting Rachel enough, or talks about her problems too much. Rachel, though, doesn't mind, because she's more concerned about her own struggle.
All-in-all, I've enjoyed the book so far, and I hope I will like the rest of it as well.