The Moon Butter Route is an occasionally raucous, frequently irreverent, consistently hilarious vision of the small southeastern Kansas town of Epic, situated in Buffalo County, just up the road from Armageddon. Narrated by emerging teenager Wally Eugene Gant in a masterfully mangled variant of the English tongue, the novel relates the events that transpire over the course of a single summer more than sixty years ago, during the Second World War and, more to the point, during the long years of Prohibition in Kansas. (As the novel’s jacket explains, it was a time when “Kansans will vote dry as long as they can stagger to the polls.” And indeed, as Kansas author Max Yoho explains in a prefatory note, Kansas Prohibition began nearly forty years before the adoption of the 18th Amendment ushered in “national temperance” and lasted until 1949.)
Wally’s very first paying job is for the Strang Dairy, a “two-pronged” operation distributing milk and . . . other beverages. Filled with a cast of “colorful” characters and related in a riotously funny (but let me remind you, incontestably irreverent) vernacular, The Moon Butter Route reminded me of nothing so much as a more contemporary version of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. I’m not asserting imminent literary immortality for this pungent little work of fiction, but the resemblance is more than skin deep.
If you are a fervently humorless grammarian (for instance, if this is a phrase you will not put up with); if you consistently vote a straight-party Prohibition ticket; if you cannot abide a certain, shall we say, liberalism of speech; if neologisms appall you – do not read this book. But if you’d enjoy what comes perilously close to the funniest book ever written by a Kansas author, Max Yoho’s The Moon Butter Route is the book for you.