Scott's Reviews > Lawn Boy

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen
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's review
Apr 18, 2012

it was ok

If you want to read a story about the luckiest boy on Earth who does basically nothing except watch passively as other people make decisions for him that he doesn't understand, then I guess you might kind of like this story.

If, like most people, you want a character who gets himself into challenging situations, makes tough decisions, and takes fate into his own hands, then this book is definitely not for you.

Just about the only thing Lawn Boy does in the whole book is fire up the old riding mower that his grandparents gave him. After that, neighbors start asking him to mow their lawns and giving him whatever they think is fair. (I think $20 is an awful lot for one lawn, by the way.) Then he meets Arnold, the story's protagonist in the sense that he pushes the story along. Arnold doesn't have cash, so he invests Lawn Boy's money, making him super rich. He also gets Lawn Boy some employees, manages the books, and basically runs the whole company for him. Lawn Boy does nothing except say "uh huh," and "I don't really understand," (neither does the reader), and "I already have enough money. You don't need to be so generous with me." But Arnold insists on managing the company and generously letting Lawn Boy keep most of the earnings. The employees, who have their own trucks and trailers and mowers could have tried to compete with Lawn Boy for business, but for some inexplicable reason, they would rather work for Lawn Boy and let him make most of the money. It doesn't make any sense.

Everything goes smoothly until the end when some bad guys show up and demand something, but the other guys take care of that without Lawn Boy having to do anything.

This is the most boring main character I've ever read about — a far cry from Gary Paulsen's Brian in Hatchet, who struggles so hard just to survive.

This book also fails to teach anything about capitalism. It has outlandish chapter titles, but all of the lessons about capitalism are told by Arnold to Lawn Boy, who doesn't really understand.

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