I would've posted this earlier, but I had to finish Lawn Boy Returns first. Sequels are not usually as good as the original, but Lawn Boy Returns is an exception to the rule. It is at least as good (and funny) as Lawn Boy, and possibly better. It completes the story, I guess you'd say.
One day I was 12 years old and broke. Then Grandma gave me Grandpa's old riding lawnmower. I set out to mow some lawns. More people wanted me to mow their lawns. And more and more. . . . One client was Arnold the stockbroker, who offered to teach me about "the beauty of capitalism. Supply and Demand. Diversify labor. Distribute the wealth." "Wealth?" I said. "It's groovy, man," said Arnold.
If I'd known what was coming, I might have climbed on my mower and putted all the way home to hide in my room. But the lawn business grew and grew. So did my profits, which Arnold invested in many things. And one of them was Joey Pow the prizefighter. That's when my 12th summer got really interesting.
By the end of Lawn Boy, he has close to four hundred and eighty thousand dollars. That's where Lawn Boy Returns picks up.
Six weeks and hundred of thousands of dollars later, life got more complicated. You see, the prizefighter I sponsor, Joey Pow, won a big fight. And a TV interview made me famous. As Arnold says, “Capitalism plus publicity equals monster commerce.” Even my best friends wanted a piece of the action. Meanwhile, some scary guys showed up at Joey’s gym. . . .
"Grandma, you punched Zed in the gut!"
"No, dear, it was the kidney... He'll pee blood for several days, but he'll never show up to make trouble for Joey again.
"... The secret is to keep your wrist straight and aim two feet past the target and get the weight of your shoulder into the blow. And when you make chocolate Bundt cake with the river of pudding in the middle, it's important to remember to use the cook-and-serve pudding and not the instant mix..."
Grandma is never lacking in life lessons and surprises.
Gary Paulsen does a wonderful job, again. I've read many of his nonfiction and fiction books, and enjoyed them all.