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Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy From Mars

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  935 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Leonard's life at his new junior high is just barely tolerable until he becomes friends with the unusual Alan and with him shares an extraordinary adventure. ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published May 8th 1979 by E.P. Dutton
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Christina It's one of the two elements of the stories in Five Novels that makes my mouth flatline. In The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death the female char…moreIt's one of the two elements of the stories in Five Novels that makes my mouth flatline. In The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death the female character Rat doesn't do much of anything in the climactic combat chapter.
The novels The Snarkout Boys... and Alan Mendelsohn, the Boys From Mars are written much earlier in Pinkwater's career and mostly reflecting his early adolescence: the 21st-century novels are more up-to-date and inclusive, and the target ages of his readers were typically those at which the sexes have very little to do with each other. (less)
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Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  935 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that you read as a kid and the scenes get stuck in your head for the rest of your life and you don't remember where they're from - did I dream about Hergeschleimer's Oriental Gardens? Did I actually study the art of mind control? - and then you reread it 15 or 20 years later and realize that all of your cool childhood 'memories' were just planted in your brain by this giant bald guy. Thanks, Pinkwater. ...more
From this book I learned that if you smoke a cigar, you should chew bubblegum at the same time so you don't get sick. I have never tried this, because cigars are utterly disgusting, but the two times I've had one I had no access to gum and both times ended up feeling nauseated afterward so probably Pinkwater was right, just like he was right about the lizards and the fat men from space and the avocados. ...more
This is one of those frustrating books that has interesting bits sprinkled through a not so interesting bulk. Just enough that each time I thought I would quit some clever detail or promising plot development would keep me reading. After the halfway point, I started skipping all the long infomonologues by Klugarsh and then Clarence. They seemed largely repetitive, and as far as I could tell at the end I missed nothing by not reading them. In terms of where the book ended up, I don't know why so ...more
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
latest re-read 3/4/2012

My freshman year in HS (1986/1987) I read several books by DMP... this was my favorite.

I remember, in college, volunteering at the local library to read this book to the 8-10 year olds. I started with 5 kids. In the two weeks set aside for me to finish this book my class grew to over 20 kids (and most of their parents) each night and the local bookstore told me they had to order 50+ copies for special orders and now they keep at least 2 copies in stock at all times.

Great b
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Is Alan from Mars? Can you make Omega Waves? Why is Leonard Neeble allowed to smoke cigars? Who are those time-traveling bikers, and why are they addicted to chili? Pinkwater is the imagination you fantasize you have. All of his novels should be read repeatedly.
Ann Hudspeth
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book saved my life as a child. Pinkwater's protagonists are geeky social outcasts who discover wild creative worlds that allow them to prevail. This story is so memorable. Easily my favorite childhood book.

Read it again in 2018. Still amazing!
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Pinkwater book I ever read, at one of my sons urging. I loved when I first read it, and rereading it I was impressed by the way Pinkwater throws together cliched genre elements like mysterious bookstore owners and ancient secrets with genuine childhood sorrows, in this case moving to a new school. This is a classic.
Karen Eliot
Mar 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pinkwater is one of the all-time greats of American literature. A total original. The only writer I can compare him with is Vonnegut, and Pinkwater is way better. This is one of his best.
Greg Kerestan
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picture this as "A Wrinkle in Time," but bizarre: instead of the high-minded prog-rock fusion of science, culture, religion and philosophy, this one trucks in B-movie silliness, Borscht Belt humor, Dada surrealism and Tri-State-Area pride. Pinkwater writes like a demented Catcher in the Rye, and his young adult novels were like crack to me in elementary and middle school.

The best part? They hold up! Daniel Pinkwater does not suck when you take the nostalgia goggles off. In fact, hey may be bette
Nathan Paul
Mar 31, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a very odd book about a somewhat geeky twelve year old Leonard Neeble and his experiences with his eccentric best friend Alan Mendelsohn, who, among other things, claims to hail from Mars. After moving to a new town, Leonard is bored to tears until he meets Alan Mendelsohn, the only person who seems interesting at his junior high school. They quickly become friends and together explore mind control methods, buying books and instruments from a somewhat suspect storekeeper named Samuel Kl ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read, young-adult
And madness ensued from the greatest storyteller on the planet. We have a couple of portly, chubby, oddballs from Chicago, one of who might be a martian. They are outsiders who don't fit in and don't think like everyone else. So pretty much a Pinkwater book.

When not in Jr. High our heroes are in therapy, smoking cigars, discovering mind control and hyper-stellar archaeology, exploring places like waka-waka, investigating Atlantis, Lemuria and of course eating the green death chili from the Bermu
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This is a story about a twelve year old boy named Leonard and his best friend, Alan, who claims to be from mars. These two start to explore mind control with the help of the bookstore clerk. They learn about alternate parallel universes and the societies that live in each of them. The plot of this book was confusing at times because it was unclear what was happening. I had to reread several parts to be clear on what was happening. The dialogue between the characters helped to tell the story and ...more
Ashutosh Sahu
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best sci-fi, new-age, uproariously funny, profound, philosophical, and tender books you will ever read. Should be required reading before anyone enters high school.

It completely turns the nerd tropes on their head! It suggests that in a world of conformity, the misfits are king. It exposes the reader to very powerful new age ideas in the guise of a wickedly funny kid's book.

When it comes to quirky humor, Pinkwater is the grandmaster!
Ava •
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a good mix of funny and ... wheeeeeel, weird. Weird is good!!
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun read.
BUT. BUT BUT BUT. There are no strong girl characters. Like, whaaa? Seriously Pinkwater, come on. I'm also reading The Spies of Spiegel (by Daniel Pinkwater) and there are, like, a total of ZERO girls in that. COME ON.
Myron Shulgan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, reread
there are many things to love about alan mendelsohn, the boy from mars, which has all your trademark pinkwater eccentricities but also a more cohesive plot structure than some of his other books. but i'd like to take this chance to record just how much i love pinkwater's descriptions of food experiences in particular:

Dr. Prince scooped up big spoonful of the [Green Death chili]. At first, after he had popped it into his mouth, he had a sort of musing expression; then he looked pleased; then he
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer2019, 2019
Slow-going, but fun if you like intelligent, creative, nonconformist and self-reliant protagonists. Defined character-building in lieu of real suspense, and enough wackiness to make this my first choice among my concurrent reads. The magic is strong in this one.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rated 5 for how much I enjoyed this book when I was in grade 5. Holds up well on re-read now, definitely sharing with the kids.
Oct 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a children's story. Has some similarities to Alice in Wonderland, in that there isn't much logic to it. Wouldn't recommend this book to any teenager or older. ...more
Sarah TheAromaofBooks
Not my favorite Pinkwater ever, but still an entertaining and funny read.
Gina Andrews
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Funny and moving story of a boy who doesn't quite fit in at his new junior high. But when Leonard meets Alan Mendelsohn, life starts to look up. ...more
Liz Kozek Hutchinson
Somehow my childhood friends never held up when compared to Alan Mendelsohn. Another great Pinkwater creation.
Gibster Wallis
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Charming Novel for Kids 10-65

I read this when it was new and never could find anywhere until it became available on Kindle Editions.

Whacky, funny and thoughtful and wise.
Alli Tripp
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book so much as a kid It was my first book about multiple universes and multiple dimensions very cool I need to reread it...A childhood favorite of mine
Leonard is the weird new kid at his school -- until Alan shows up. Pretty funny, but a little too complicated. Also, were girls not invented yet?
The primary audience for this book would be a 9 to 13 year old boy. Therefore, I found myself disengaged and not that invested in the characters. Furthermore, it should be noted that this is a work of fantasy/sci fi. I was unaware of that going into this book and found myself waiting for an additional piece to be added to the puzzle, or a plot twist at the end. Neither of which occurred. While entertaining and at times comical, it was difficult for me to decide on a 2.5 or 3 star rating.
Bill Plott
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very entertaining juvenile science fiction novel. Pinkwater is as delightful here as he was in his NPR commentaries.
Dec 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished

At the beginning of the story, protagonist Leonard Neeble attends a new school, Bat Masterson Junior High, where he is bullied by his classmates and neglected by the staff. At length, he is befriended by the title character, Alan Mendelsohn, and is thereafter happier and more capable. When Alan starts a school-wide quarrel over his claim to Martian ancestry, both are suspended from school for one week; during which, they meet Samuel Klugarsh, the owner of an occult bookstore, who sells them a

Nov 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently found out that my elementary school librarian died. She encouraged my love of books from a very young age, and I remember her recommending this one decades ago. It was fun to back and read a childhood favorite. RIP, Mars. Hallgren.
What is really great about this book, besides that it's funny and weird, is just HOW it's funny and weird.

It's like, Leonard and Alan are part of something that has been prophesied, but it is not a challenge for them to achieve the important, historical feats they do. It would seem that across dimensions and planets, these two young boys are as smart as anyone comes, though to the type of reader this book is aimed toward, they're very relatable. The fact that Waka-Waka is an enormously boring pl
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Daniel Manus Pinkwater is an author of mostly children's books and is an occasional commentator on National Public Radio. He attended Bard College. Well-known books include Lizard Music, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, Fat Men from Space, Borgel, and the picture book The Big Orange Splot. Pinkwater has also illustrated many of his books in the past, although for more recent works that ...more

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