Keri's Reviews > Go, Mutants!

Go, Mutants! by Larry Doyle
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Jun 06, 2010

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bookshelves: first-reads

I received Go, Mutants! by Larry Doyle as an advanced readers’ copy.

Having never read anything by Larry Doyle before, but having heard his name quite often, I was so happy to get Go, Mutants! in the mail. On top of that, it has the theme of B-movies - sci-fi/horror specifically - of which I spent a scary amount of time watching. Yes, I am one of those people who goes to Pathmark and browses through the $1 movie section. Yes, you can find real winners there!

A brief summary of the novel: J!m is the son of the alien who made First Contact during the middle of the ‘51 World Series. He goes to Manhattan High School, which is a not-so-integrated mix of mutants and humans. You’ll meet Russ and Rusty Ford; Johnny, the son of King Kong; Jelly Sweeney, gelatinous mass in the shape of the stereotypical fat kid; and Marie Rand, daughter of a mad scientist and the girl who wants to be Class President to make the not-so-integration much more integrated.

I found, in my search of the author, that he wrote a lot of TV/Movie scripts including The Simpsons. That humor I can see in every page of this book. I also learned the novel will be filmed, and in my mind’s eye, it would be better animated. There were cameos of characters that came in and out of the story that you could just see as the brief glimpses on a TV show that serves up laughter.

My initial reaction was that this is a book perfect for teenaged boys. Especially those in that awkward age of high school. You know what I’m talking about; what every teenager complains their way through (and as someone who is in her early twenties, I can related). It’s a sexed up book, but as we’re in J!m’s POV, what stereotypical teenaged boy isn’t sexed up? It comes with the hormones.

This, though, makes the pacing suffer. The beginning of the book was slow because we have to learn about J!m (better known as just Jim because that ! is subsonic) and his past and his feelings. World building a-plenty here, and necessarily as this is an alternate 1962. You will see people you’ve learned about in school, just a bit twisted.

The beginning is akin to a mutated version of The Catcher in the Rye but since we’re not in J!m’s first-person POV, we’re distanced a bit. We go to school dances, witness the bullying, and even see how his mother simultaneously gets on his nerves and comforts him.

The end of the book, however, speeds through in a high action paced B-movie-like plot. I couldn’t put it down, even in the slow part, but especially after the Intermission. The way things happen is a domino effect into the ending that satisfies everything I wanted to happen to everyone by the end of the novel. The ending is one of those things that make you pause and go, “Wait? Huh?” which is never a bad thing.

One thing I liked especially was the use of songs in the novel. You’ll have fun recognizing the original tunes and seeing just where they are now that aliens and mutants have invaded the world. I also enjoyed the vocabulary in the novel. It’s a breath of fresh air to see words fitting of the SATs used in a novel. Too many novels I’ve read use more common words and I think it’s just more educational to read something which makes you crack the spine on the dictionary. Especially if I don’t have to read much fiction from the 18th century to do so.

There is one thing I’m a bit torn about. Some teenage matters that could be considered series are brought up, but brushed over with humor or associated with people a teenager would never want to be like in a million years. On one hand, I think addressing these issues with humor could be a good way of saying, “See? These aren’t even conceivable except to laugh at so don’t do it.” On the other hand, some of these things can be serious problems and may end up hurting someone. As this is a humor book, I didn’t let it detract too much from my enjoyment.

So after this incredibly long review, I will say that I enjoyed the book. While sometimes I was a bit confused - mainly when it was a lot of world building or in a few spots, when the plot made me blink - I kept reading until the end and was honestly interested in what happened to J!m and his friends. I give this book a 3/5.
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Reading Progress

June 6, 2010 – Shelved
June 16, 2010 – Started Reading
June 16, 2010 –
page 136
June 18, 2010 – Finished Reading
August 18, 2010 – Shelved as: first-reads

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Adelaide Metzger The satire bothered me as well when it came to moments and situations that should have been serious. I understand that it's somewhat of a dark comedy, but I found myself wanting to feel the emotion without being jabbed by a joke. I haven't read I Love You Beth Cooper, but I assume it's along the same lines.

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