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Josh Swensen (otherwise known as Larry) can't seem to get off the couch. His usual overactive imagination and save-the-world mindset have all but vanished, and his best friend Beth is seriously worried.When Beth coaxes Josh into taking a walk at Walden Pond, Josh meets Gus Muldarian, a spiritual guru who convinces him to join his study group as a way to find deeper meaning in life. Josh thinks Gus is a joke. Still, feeling desperate and seeing no way out of his rut, he agrees to try it. What begins as a harmless ...
Josh Swensen (otherwise known as Larry) can't seem to get off the couch. His usual overactive imagination and save-the-world mindset have all but vanished, and his best friend Beth is seriously worried.When Beth coaxes Josh into taking a walk at Walden Pond, Josh meets Gus Muldarian, a spiritual guru who convinces him to join his study group as a way to find deeper meaning in life. Josh thinks Gus is a joke. Still, feeling desperate and seeing no way out of his rut, he agrees to try it. What begins as a harmless Thoreau-esque search for meaning soon turns into Josh's most chaotic and profound adventure yet.
After the success of The Gospel According to Larry and Vote for Larry, Janet Tashjian returns with yet another tour de force--a book that explores important topics and will keep teens hooked right until the unexpected end.
After his "pseudocide" in The Gospel According to Larry (2001) and his failed presidential race in Vote for Larry (2004, both Holt), Josh Swenson (aka Larry) returns home to Massachusetts a lost soul. When he discovers his old girlfriend studying with a guru named Gus, he decides to sign up and search for the meaning of life with her. The resulting adventures include the F.B.I., land mines, and the possibility of finding the father he never knew. The plot includes many circumstances that are very coincidental, a timeline that is inexplicable, and loving acts that are far too altruistic, even for Larry. But throughout, Josh/Larry maintains his desire to make a difference in this world, and his drive to do something goes into first gear, especially when he thinks that Walden Pond is going to be blown up. Tashjian's pace is tightly synchronized and it is worth it to trust her. Just when readers wonder how much more disbelief they can suspend, an explanation occurs and the seemingly implausible becomes believable. The serious world problem of land mines buried in over 80 countries and killing more than 70 people a day is addressed in one of Josh/Larry's footnotes. This is, after all, based on a manuscript submitted by Josh to the author, as she explains in her prologue and epilogue. Shining throughout is the character of Josh/Larry himself, a teen who will grab readers' interest, whether or not they have read the first two titles.-Sue Lloyd, Franklin High School Library, Livonia, MI
Josh Swensen, the "hyperactive, solve-the-world's-problems-by-dinnertime" boy who recreated himself as counterculture hero Larry (The Gospel According to Larry, 2001, etc.), is back for a third installment. Now he's lethargic and depressed, trying to find his place in the world, and readers may get impatient wallowing with him in his angst. But a series of seemingly over-the-top events—a decapitated dog, a lecherous guru, a plot to blow up Thoreau's Walden Pond—shake him up, and readers will discover, along with Josh, that they have been treated to a delicious game orchestrated by Brown theater student Beth precisely to get her friend back on track. But it gets more complicated: What is the game and what is real? Josh's first-person narrative, complete with footnotes, is framed by Tashjian's narrative, herself a character to whom Josh delivers his story. Readers who have read the first two Larry stories will most appreciate this, but new readers will get caught up in a wise and humorous tale and learn something about the meaning of life. (Fiction. 11 & up)
A Booksense Pick
A Best Book for Young Adults
A New York Public Library Best Book for the Teen Age
A Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book