This book is different. It's a pseudo graphic memoir by a "naive-male-prodigy-on-a-mission" (per Newsweek). It is published with extra wide side margins that leave room for numerous drawings and side comments. At first I thought I could ignore these graphics and side comments because it appeared that it would take twice as long to read the book if I read all of them. But I soon found that I had to be careful about what I skipped because some of the material provided essential information about the narrator's emotional state. And to make certain the reader didn't miss anything, there were lines and arrows connecting many of the side notes to the pertinent text within the story.
The book is written in first person by a twelve year old boy from Montana who was invited to accept an award in Washington D.C. from the Smithsonian Institute for some beetle illustrations he's made. Those making the award are under the impression that he's an adult. For various reasons he leaves for D.C. without telling his parents. This is the story of his adventures.
In order for me to enjoy this book I had to lay aside some on my judgmental and disapproving attitudes toward the boy's actions. I certainly do not approve of twelve year old boys leaving home without telling their parents. As the story progresses, the boy tells some lies that disturbed me as well. But I had to overlook these things in order to find the story within the book is a cute tale of "Roughing It."
I was thrown for a loop for some totally unrealistic happenings described by the book. I won't take time to describe them here, but suffice it to say that my reaction was, "Huh? Is this science fiction or what?" It is my conclusion that since the book is written in the voice of a twelve year old, it's not a reliable source. So if it sounds like fantasy, it is.