________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 18 . . . . January 16, 2015


The Meaning of Life According to the Mosquito: Life Bites!

Debora Broadhead.
N.p., Topaz Publishing, 2014.
245 pp., trade pbk. & e-book, $15.97 (pbk.), $4.99 (e-book).
ISBN 978-0-692230619 (pbk.).

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Kay Weisman.

* /4



"Truly. I didn't think life could be this good." George became more serious. "I thought that getting married and falling in love . . . well, that was for the birds and not for me. But you changed everything. I'm living life to the fullest because of you. Nanny, and Mario Banjo, the older male I met on my quest, explained the importance of our existence. They said we were designed by a creator. This creator had a specific purpose for everything he created. All creation has significance, even mosquitoes.

Mouth agape, Anaya stared at George. "You really did learn a lot during your quest. I'm really impressed. But how do I fit into this?"

George leaned his face against hers. "Without females to continue our species, we could not exist. I need you as much as you need me."

After a kiss, they stared at the sky in awe.

George, a young adult mosquito, lives with his parents, King Aberdeen and his unnamed Queen, in the Great Swampland of the Central Interior of British Columbia. George allows himself to be crowned prince, but he runs away to avoid an arranged marriage to Princess Anaya. Instead, he sets off on a quest that takes him through Vancouver and south as far as Mexico. He discovers the meaning of life (at least according to his source, Mario Banjo), and then learns that his father has died, necessitating his return home to assume the throne. Luckily, Anaya is still waiting to marry him, although she dies shortly after giving birth to their many children, sending George into a deep depression.

      Where to begin in evaluating this book? Broadhead's writing is overwrought, her characters formulaic, and her plot hackneyed. The story's religious overtones will make many readers uncomfortable, and the suggestion that females exist mostly to perpetuate the species will be equally unpopular. ("[Anaya] understood the importance of her job. Though she knew it would cost her dearly, she willingly gave her life.") The question of audience is also a problem: while some parents may feel that having children gives their life special meaning, it's hard to imagine a child or young adult echoing this sentiment.

      Those in the mood for quest fiction will be much better served by Kenneth Oppel's This Dark Endeavor and its sequel, Such Wicked Intent.

Not Recommended.

Kay Weisman, a librarian and reviewer, now writes "Information Matters" for School Library Monthly and works as a youth librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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ISSN 1201-9364
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