Most helpful positive review
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I'm Glad I Live In Maine
on March 27, 2014
The very first line in the first reprinted newspaper column made me laugh. THAT was a first for me. There are plenty of funny, acerbic, sarcastic lines peppered throughout this collection of columns. However, the constant barrage of examples showing politicians, unsavory businesspeople, and Floridians in a negative light eventually overwhelmed me. The former Jim Crow state may now be a huge tourist destination and Disney Mecca, but the place is still marinating in a swamp's worth of conservative politics and unethical shenanigans.
Mr. Hiaasen's pieces have the feel of the late, great Chicago columnist Mike Royko (1932-1997.) Also like Mr. Royko, Mr. Hiaasen was born, raised and has lived his entire life in the state he very much loves. The dude is seriously pissed at witnessing the out-of-control growth, the rampant pollution, the horrific crimes and plethora of low-wage service jobs to support tourism as well as residential development. There are a healthy dose of pieces which focus on Florida, but national issues are also given attention. Some of the topics covered are the Terri Schiavo fiasco, Guantanamo, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, Haitian refugees, Catholic sex abuse, Presidents Bush and Obama as well as Vice-President Cheney, illegal farm workers, George Zimmerman & Trayvon Martin, the NRA, the Iraq War, Florida's stand-your-ground law and the superficial media.
After reading a few columns, it doesn't take an Albert Einstein to realize Mr. Hiaasen is a unabashed liberal with major axes to grind. Most of his material is sarcastic in tone but supported by valid facts. I found only a few of the columns to be mediocre. Overall, the book is an educational and entertaining collection of pieces which were originally published from 2001 through 2012. I was surprised that many of the low-rating reviews for 'Dance of the Reptiles' were because readers didn't realize it was a collection of newspaper columns. Heck, people, it says "selected columns" on the front AND Miami Herald columns on the back cover. Maybe reading material about politics and social issues was above their ken. As for me, I enjoyed it.