"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Friday, November 26, 2010

Nature Girl by Carl Hiassen

Hiaasen's formula is simple: make three stories about people who could be Floridians, mellow it out a little bit, and then produce witty and ironic humor, and therefore Hiaasen's characters are not beyond imagination.

Honey Santana is the main looney toon of this script, whose relationship with her ex (a devoted drug runner from the keys) and almost-13-year old son (what 13-year old boy isn't automatically Hiaasen fodder?) crosses a half Seminole who accidentally kills white men, an FSU coed who is known as a Seminole fan (and boy is she ever), Boyd Shreave (any mother's nightmare whose ambition is telemarketing) and his girlfriend Eugenie Fonda. Amid the trip, we meet Boyd's wife, Lily, her private investigator, Dealey, and the requisite freak of nature (mentally and in this book physically as well), Louis Piejack.

Putting these people in purgatory was easy - he put them onto Dismal Key - a real Florida Key located off the west coast of Florida. This nightmare on the water was beholden to the Calusa Indians who took oyster shells by the boat load to make the Key remain above water, and more recently has been the love of the indigenous rednecks who have made the middle of the island a kingdom of Old Milwaukee bottles. This island is best described by Hiaasen as a recycler's heaven.

The dialogue in any of his books is the secret. The characters are weird, but their dialogue is what carries his books, and this is no exception. You get what would come from the mouths of a bipolar mother (Honey), a burdened half Indian (Sammy Tigertail), a sex kitten who writes best sellers about her trysts (Fonda) and a indefatigable liar (Boyd).

Whenever you need light reading and a good laugh, Hiaasen is a proper prescription.

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