Teeny-Weeny and Poor


Don’t let anyone tell you that size doesn’t matter. Take, for example, 13-year-old Warner, his older sister Prayer, and their mother, who live in an alternate reality where everyone’s size depends on how much “munmun” — the type of currency used there — they have.
Warner and his family are all “littlepoor”. They have the least amount of munmun, therefore they are the smallest size, roughly the size of rats.
“Munmun” by Jesse Andrews highlights the differences between the rich and the poor, with people’s sizes representing not only their wealth, but also their power.
Being so tiny can be a big problem. In Warner’s reality, the smaller you are, the more things can kill you.
Warner has witnessed some terrible things happen to his own family. One year, a middlerich kid named Jasper was pushed by a group of bullies. This caused him to trip and step on Warner’s milk crate house, killing his father.
That same year, his mother was mauled by a cat. The cat didn’t kill her but broke her spine, making her unable to work. Warner and Prayer were able to get her to a hospital, but the doctors couldn’t do much to help their mother because, even though they were the smallest doctors, she was the size of one of their hands.
Not everything is bad for littlepoors, though. Whenever anyone sleeps deep enough, they get to go to Dreamworld: a place where everyone is middlescale and everyone can change the environment to look as beautiful — or as terrible — as they want.
Warner, Prayer, and their mother — now in a wheelchair — must find a way to get rich, get big, and live a better, less dangerous life.
Prayer suggests that she could marry a middlerich man. That way, he would scale down while Prayer would scale up. The only problem would be finding someone who’s willing to scale down.
Their mother decides to send herself to a church — the only public buildings made small enough for littlepoors.
Everyone agrees to Prayer’s idea — except for their friend Usher who is in love with Prayer.
Soon, the littlepoors’ luck changes. Prayer got to move in with a middlerich man named Paddy, and Kitty — a middlerich girl whom Warner met in Dreamworld — and her family took care of Warner.
Warner and Prayer still face a lot of problems in their quest to get big. A middlerich girl wants her pet lynx to eat them, Warner gets sent to prison for trying to protect his sister, a gang is after them, and Usher goes missing.
Even though Warner’s life is great with Kitty, he can’t help but wonder if getting big is really worth it.
Andrews wrote “Munmun” from Warner’s point of view, and because Warner didn’t go to school and can’t write very well, it was a bit confusing at times. Many of the places in Warner’s world have wacky spellings, like “The Yewess” (the U.S.), “Ejipped” (Egypt), and “Frants” (France), and I haven’t really been able to figure out the meanings of many words that Warner uses.
It was fun to read “Munmun” and it made me think a lot about the differences between the rich and the poor. I would recommend it for anyone ages 12 and up.