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Nature Girl Paperback – October 30, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (October 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446581755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446581752
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Old fans and newcomers alike should delight in Hiaasen's 11th novel (after 2004's Skinny Dip), another hilarious Florida romp. The engaging and diverse screwball cast includes Boyd Shreave, a semicompetent telemarketer; Shreave's mistress and co-worker, Eugenie Fonda; Honey Santana, a mercurial gadfly who ends up on the other end of one of Shreave's pitches for Florida real estate; and Sammy Tigertail, half Seminole, who at novel's start must figure out what to do with the body of a tourist who dies of a heart attack on Sammy's airboat after being struck by a harmless water snake. When Santana cooks up an elaborate scheme to punish Shreave for nasty comments he made during his solicitation call, she ends up involving her 12-year-old son, Fry, and her ex-husband in a frantic chase that enmeshes Tigertail and the young co-ed Sammy accidentally has taken hostage. While the absurd plot may be less than compelling, Hiaasen's humorous touches and his all-too-human characters carry the book to its satisfying close. 600,000 first printing; author tour. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The trend, noticeable in Hiaasen's last few novels, to move ever so slightly away from the apocalyptic edge is evident again in his latest screwball thriller. In fact, this one feels like a Shakespearean comedy, a mix of A Midsummer's Night Dream and As You Like It in which a group of confused lovers tangle with a gang of "rude mechanicals" deep in the Forest of Arden. Except here Arden is one of the Ten Thousand Islands in the famous Florida wilderness area. And our heroine, playing a variation on Rosalind, is a slightly screwy gal named Honey Santana, who possesses the tragic flaw of demanding "more decency and consideration from her fellow humans than they demand of themselves." That's a tall order when your fellow humans include a foul-smelling fishmonger who may be the world's most deranged stalker and a ne'er-do-well telephone solicitor who has the bad luck of calling Honey at the dinner hour. Before you can say "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Honey, the phone guy, and his comely mistress have landed in Hiaasen's bug-infested Forest of Arden along with the fishmonger/stalker, a Seminole Indian on the lam, and sundry others. There is much chaos, of course, but throughout a long night on the island, there is never a sense of horror lurking behind the high jinks. We stick around for the show, however, even without much suspense, because Hiaasen is still as funny as any thriller writer alive, and because, even at his goofiest, his characters are never mere jokes with legs. There's always something human there, behind the laughter or beyond the horror, and this time that something is almost sweet. "Such sweet thunder," one might call it. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his incredibly tolerant family and numerous personal demons.

A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the paper's weekly magazine and later its prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. He has outlasted almost all of them, and his column still appears on most Sundays in The Herald's opinion-and-editorial section. It may be viewed online at www.miamiherald.com or in the actual printed edition of the newspaper, which, miraculously, is still being published.

For his journalism and commentary, Hiaasen has received numerous state and national honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club. His work has also appeared in many well-known magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Time, Life, Esquire and, most improbably, Gourmet.

In the early 1980s, Hiaasen began writing novels with his good friend and distinguished journalist, the late William D. Montalbano. Together they produced three mystery thrillers -- Powder Burn, Trap Line and Double Whammy -- which borrowed heavily from their own reporting experiences.

Tourist Season, published in 1986, was Hiaasen's first solo novel. GQ magazine called it "one of the 10 best destination reads of all time," although it failed to frighten a single tourist away from Florida, as Hiaasen had hoped it might. His next effort, Double Whammy, was the first (and possibly the only) novel about sex, murder and corruption on the professional bass-fishing circuit.

Since then, Hiaasen has published nine others -- Skin Tight, Native Tongue, Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Skinny Dip, The Downhill Lie and Nature Girl. Hiaasen made his children's book debut with Hoot (2002), which was awarded a Newbery Honor and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller lists. For young readers he went on to write the bestselling Flush (2005) and, most recently Scat (January 2009). The film version of Hoot was released in 2006, directed by Wil Shriner and produced by Jimmy Buffett and Frank Marshall. ("Hoot" is now available on DVD).

Hiaasen is also responsible for Team Rodent (1998), a wry but unsparing rant against the Disney empire and its creeping grip on the American entertainment culture. In 2008, Hiaasen came back to nonfiction with The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. The book chronicles his harrowing and ill-advised reacquaintance with golf after a peaceful, 32-year absence.

Together, Hiaasen's novels have been published in 34 languages, which is 33 more than he is able to read or write. Still, he has reason to believe that all the foreign translations are brilliantly faithful to the original work. The London Observer has called him "America's finest satirical novelist," while Janet Maslin of the New York Times has compared him to Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S.J. Perelman. Hiaasen re-reads those particular reviews no more than eight or nine times a day.

To prove that he doesn't just make up all the sick stuff in his fiction, Hiaasen has also published two collections of his newspaper columns, Kick A** and Paradise Screwed, both courageously edited by Diane Stevenson and faithfully kept in print by the University Press of Florida.

One of Hiaasen's previous novels, Strip Tease, became a major motion-picture in 1996 starring Demi Moore, and directed by Andrew Bergman. Despite what some critics said, Hiaasen continues to insist that the scene featuring Burt Reynolds slathered from his neck to his toes with Vaseline is one of the high points in modern American cinema.

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Customer Reviews

They are very funny and I look forward to a good read and lots of laughs.
Nancy Pulsipher
There were too many "crazy" characters, the plot was far too contrived and unbelievable, and the book was too long by half.
MDCacher
Nature Girl is somehat disappointing, mainly because of the characters developed within the book.
J. Ryan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia K. Robertson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the funniest mystery writers today is Carl Hiaason. In his latest, Nature Girl, he provides us with his usual fare--a hilariously funny story but with a message. While not as powerful as some of his previous work, Nature Girl is still an entertaining book.

Nature Girl is Honey Santana, a female version of Twilly Spreey (who Hiaason featured in Sick Puppy). Santana is divorced, raising a precocious 12 year old son Fry, and apparently suffers from bi-polar disorder. Santana's husband, Skinner, still loves his former wife and tries to run interference for her. She is known to do outrageous things "trying to demand more decency and consideration from her fellow human beings." When a hapless telephone solicitor, Boyd Shreave, interrupts her dinner time with her son and then calls her a rude name, Santana hatches a plot to teach Shreave some civility.

Santana lures Boyd and his girlfriend to the Florida wilderness and Ten Thousand Islands. Little does she know that the cast of characters that will encounter on Dismal Key. They include Sammy Tigertail (a Seminole Indian trying to hide out from the law and who hears the voices of a dead man), Gillian LaCroix (a college co-ed who wants to be taken hostage by Tigertail), Eugenie Fonda (Shreave's reluctant girlfriend), Theordore Dealey (a PI who has been hired by Shreave's wife to get incriminating photos), and Louis Piejack (an obnoxious sexual predator stalking Santana). As Dealey observes, "I wish I hadn't taken this god-damned case--I've never run up against so many card-carrying fruitballs in all my life." It's a cast that only Hiaason could produce.

But through the comic scenes, there is much to be serious about in Nature Girl. Hiaasen is anti-development, anti-tourist and pro-environment.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What's not to like about a book by Carl Hiaasen? His prose is tough yet tender, his satire bites then provokes smiles, he's totally original, his offbeat characters are over the top, and, thanks to him, the State of Florida is revealed in all its steamy, seamy splendor. He won me with "Skinny Dip" and I haven't looked back since.

With "Nature Girl" we meet Boyd Shreave who is employed by Relentless, Inc. where he makes his living as a telemarketer. His mistress, Eugenie Fonda "who claimed a murky connection to the famous acting family" is in the cubicle next to him, a script is in front of him, and he has an assumed name for calling purposes - Boyd Eisenhower. He'll rue the day that he ever dialed Honey Santana's number.

Honey is a woman on a mission fueled by a rabid desire to rid the world of many adversities that have visited her, one of them being dinnertime sales calls. Her 12-year-old son, Fry, alternates between believing her to be tetched or the most wonderful Mom in the world. Her brother, Richard, is well aware that his sister "sometimes reacted to ordinary situations in unique ways." Nonetheless, he locates Boyd for her. Her plan? To sell him something he can't afford.

Sure enough, Boyd takes the bait and soon Honey is escorting the telemarketer and his reluctant mistress on a kayak tour through the wilds of Ten Thousand Islands. She just intends to teach them a lesson or three. What she hadn't counted on is Piejack, her boss at the fish market, following her. Piejack is the kind of guy who thinks sexual harassment in the workplace is acceptable, and the object of his attention is Honey.

Now, read carefully (this is Hiaasen) - Piejack is being followed by Honey's ex, Perry, and Fry.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By jeanne-scott on July 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Hiaasen is absolutely a fabulous author!! His novel brings together a cast of eclectic and "border-line" personalities into the swamps and keys of Florida with an undertone of environmental responsibility. An "off-her-meds" woman decides to teach a lesson to a telemarketer and his mistress by luring them into a lesson teaching get-away. Her ex-husband is trying to keep an eye on her, as is her 12 year old son. They end up crossing paths with a half-white half-Seminole young man who is hiding from the law due to the death of his first client and his voluntary hostage, a young co-ed looking for adventure and possible romance.
This tale is entertaining and intelligent as always in Hiaasen's approach to his anti-development message. Hiaasen delivers his message in an entertaining intricate story. This is not his best novel but when you are talking Hiaasen they are all good, this is just a little less great than his others.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Heather A. Teysko VINE VOICE on July 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Nobody makes playing with words so much fun as Hiaasen does. He's got the most bizarre imagination. The cast of characters is crazy, the stories, as usual, get all interconnected, and the result is a fun and satisfying ride.

I found this book to be less philosophical and deep than some of his others. There wasn't an environmental "bad guy" out to destroy habitats to build a cheap housing development, though there definitely were a few bad guys who certainly didn't appreciate their surroundings. It was a lot more fun and quirky, and less of a morality tale.

Definitely a must-read for fans of Hiaasen. And if you're up for a crazy ride that's part mystery, part satire, and pure comedy, give it a whirl. I actually bought Brideshead Revisited to reread after Hiaasen was compared to Waugh - another classic satirist worth reading.
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