49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiaasen hilarity
I've read all of Carl Hiaasen's books, and although my favorites are "Native Tongue" and "Skin Tight", I choose to review "Strip Tease" because the film did not represent it very well. In all fairness to Demi and company, I don't think Hollywood could ever do Hiaasen's dark humor justice. By now everyone knows the plot line of "Strip...
Published on December 24, 2000 by Chapulina R
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Teasing the Reader
I probably would have enjoyed this more had I not previously read "Native Tongue." However, the similar ironic humor, not-quite-what-they-seem characters, and convenient plot devices make the writing seem familiar. The formerly outrageous implausibility now seems too deliberate, almost scripted for a series of five-minutes scenes (and "Strip...
Published on July 16, 2000 by M. Allen Greenbaum
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiaasen hilarity,
I've read all of Carl Hiaasen's books, and although my favorites are "Native Tongue" and "Skin Tight", I choose to review "Strip Tease" because the film did not represent it very well. In all fairness to Demi and company, I don't think Hollywood could ever do Hiaasen's dark humor justice. By now everyone knows the plot line of "Strip Tease": Erin the reluctant stripper becomes involved with smarmy politicians, environmental despoilers, and slimeball ex and inlaws in her struggle for custody of her daughter. Sexploitation, murder, and blackmail ensue, but with the help of a good-hearted Cuban cop and a deranged but devoted doorman, our protagonist prevails. As in all Hiaasen's tales, the climax is upbeat for the heroes while the villains reap their twisted, greatly-deserved kharma. For those not already familiar with Hiaasen, reading this book is a good way to begin the experience. The characters are a little less wacky, the plot a little less zany than his other novels'. But the writing style is every bit as riotous. Warning: Hiaasen is addictive! Like tattoos and chocolate-cordial cherries, you can't stop with just one. And after the insanity of the recent Elian' Gonzales tug-of-war and the rigged election, the reader will realize where Hiaasen dredges up the loony characters who populate his Florida settings. But his genuine love for his home state -- along with his genuine frustration over the rape of its ecosystem -- is evident in all his writings. Those who appreciate Hiaasen's crusade against Florida's political corruption and development & tourism industries will enjoy reading his fine little non-fiction rant, "Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World".
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Savage Satire of Lust, Bad Taste in Men and Crooked Politics,
Anyone who has ever traveled to south Florida has probably noticed an abundance of establishments offering entertainment by nude or partially unclothed women. Carl Hiaasen takes the establishment of the strip club as the center for his hilarious look at the ways that men and women manipulate each other, and how politicians get away with murder.
Although Mr. Hiaasen notes that the story is all fictional, he does remind the readers that the accounts of topless creamed corn wrestling are based on fact.
The central puzzle behind this book's story is how an intelligent, hard-working staff member of the FBI ends up as an exotic dancer in a strip club. That's a tale that will unfold in all its gory detail as you laugh your way through this hilarious book.
As the book opens, a bachelor party on the eve of the wedding goes horribly wrong. As the groom clutches onto the unclothed Erin Grant at the Eager Beaver, a wild man jumps onto the stage and begins belting the groom over the head with a champagne bottle. In the ensuing mess, the wild man escapes. As his car speeds away, it turns out that the attacker doesn't even know what he did . . . and doesn't want to know. Since the attacker is local Congressman David Lane Dilbeck, it looks like he'll need a political fixer to help him out. But some things cannot be fixed as easily as others. And the trail of deception heads off in a totally unexpected and deadly course.
The targets for satire are mostly among the patrons, managers and bouncers of the strip clubs as well as those who try to help them take advantage of others. But there's also a very mixed up husband who you will never forget.
This book could have easily slid into a sort of quasi-pornography but Mr. Hiaasen rigorously steers away from any tendency in that direction. Instead, the story is relatively chaste considering its subject matter.
I love books with memorable, well developed characters. Strip Tease has several. Erin Grant is one of the most original and inventive heroines that you will ever read about. Her husband is one of the funniest criminal incarnations you can imagine -- a unique portrayal of stupidity in action. Her friend Shad is a highly nuanced man of muscle and intent to protect, with a very hard head. As usual, Mr. Hiaasen's best comic genius is for those we would normally not come close to in real life . . . but who act as best they can according to a code of honor.
The best character though is Al Garcia, a policeman whose family vacation is interrupted by his children finding a floater from south Florida in Montana. Without jurisdiction, he finds a way to solve the murder and right the wrongs . . . as best he can. The whole family gets into the action before the story is over. It's a nice counterpoint to all the sleazy people in the story.
Although it will seem obvious where the story is probably going, Mr. Hiaasen is so inventive with his detailed plot development that you will find yourself racing through the book wondering what in the world he will offer next. The results are constantly surprising, entertaining and enormously funny.
Superb job, Mr. Hiaasen!
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About the right balance . . .,
of "stripping" and "teasing" if by stripping you mean sex and violence and "teasing" you mean satire and Mr. Hiaasen's legendary caustic political wit. (If Congress ever takes meaningful action to reduce or eliminate the federal "giveaway" sugar price-support subsidies to the big growers, the best-informed average citizens outside of the Sunshine State will undoubtedly be Hiaasen fans who read this book.) But Mr. H. says that the Latino-American sugar barons portrayed in this book are just a figment of his warped imagination. Well, his imagination may be warped, but it tickles me.
This just may be Hiaasen's very best novel. The pacing is nice and zippy. Its story line has all the elements in the right degree: I mentioned the humor and the savagery, and the characters are priceless, including a bouncer who "has a high threshold" and inhales cigar smoke when he lights up, thinking that everyone else does. To an unusual degree with this frequently cynical author, the guilty suffer and the good are rewarded, though sometimes in unorthodox ways. I do agree with earlier critics who found the lady stripper a bit too good to be true. If you can spell, turn on a computer and look good in pumps, a legal secretary earns just as much money, has the drop on the best day-care centers and is about eleventy-seven times more likely to get home in one piece. I just have to forgive Hiaasen his title character's chosen profession; as the folks in the English departments do, write it off as a "convention of the genre," which is academese for "make believe it's so or else there ain't no story."
This is an excellent starter book for neophyte Hiaasen fans (notice I assume that anyone who picks up his books will become a fan); though if you prefer to work up the pace slowly you might consider the earlier, more leisurely "Double Whammy."
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Demi Moore owes Carl and his fans a big apology,
While not Carl Hiaasen's best work -- I'd nominate "Skin Tight" or "Native Tongue" for that -- "Strip Tease" is far wiser, funnier and richer than the anemic film version by Demi Moore would have you believe.
Instead of FBI secretary-turned-stripper Erin being a strangely desexualized perfect being, in the novel, in the novel, she's a complicated mess. In other words, a real human being. Her ex-husband is a piece of crap, yes, but not the cartoonish lout we see in the film. In fact, everyone in a Hiaasen novel is a bit of a goofball, once their foibles are looked at unflinchingly, which is part of the fun.
Those only familiar with "Strip Tease" via the movie don't get any of that: The good guys are too good to screw up, and the bad guys are too stupid to have any redeeming qualities. And to top it all off, Demi apparently doesn't understand that stripping is meant to titillate, not spiritually enlighten its audience. Those aroused by the film ought to get out more.
In fact, the book tops the film in every way, with the possible exception of what Burt Reynolds brings to the film. But even then, in his role as a corrupt politician -- and, ultimately, the engine for the story -- punches are pulled and he's not quite as sleazy as in the book. Apparently, giving people a lesson into how greed is destroying the Everglades was just too heavy for the film audience.
Those who liked the film -- and they exist, strangely enough -- still ought to pick up the book, to learn all about the characters and read the situations that didn't make the final cut. For current fans of Hiaasen's work, the book is roughly on par with "Stormy Weather," although much more politically barbed than that work, which took aim at humanity's folly generally.
And for Demi Moore, what were you thinking? You owe Carl and his fans a big apology, as well as your own fans, who deserve better.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hiaasen Continues to Impress,
I just finished reading Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen. I found his writing to be typical Hiaasen which is to say it is unexpected, sarcastic and witty. In this book he tackles some of the issues that he has been known to expose in the past.
In this book his protagonist is a young woman, Erin, who loses her job at the FBI because of her husbands felonious past. She then loses her daughter when her husbands past is hidden by the very people sworn to protect her when he is 'hired' as a confidential informant.
Erin ends up turning to exotic dancing as it is the only way for her to make the money she needs to fight for her daughters' custody. I found this commentary on society, in particular our views on women's jobs and pay, to very poignant. The only way Erin can make thousands of dollars is to expose herself to the very men who are judging her to be an unfit mother.
Following the theme of previous Hiaasen novels, the antagonists are corrupt and oblivious to the harm they cause to both the environment and their constituents. The descriptions of the misconduct is both intriguing and scary.
Hiaasen continues to impress with his sarcastic and witty style. If dark humor is what you fancy, you won't be dissapointed in this outing from one of the best writers in the genre.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Hiaasen Masterpiece,
Strip Tease is one of Hiaasen's best novels and of his earlier books, definitely the best. Like with all of Hiaasen's masterpieces, Strip Tease has simultaneous stories occurring where all characters cross paths at some time. You've got your unethical lawyers, corrupt and stupid politicians and their criminal advisors/minders. Sleazy strip club owners, a floor manager named Shad who doesn't mind insurance fraud but would die to protect his work colleague strippers. Then there's Erin Grant, a stripper who is just trying to make enough money to gain legal custody of her daughter whose violent ex husband steals wheel chairs and wants to punish her by keeping custody of Angela at all costs. Detective Garcia who also appears in the novel Double Whammy along with all these great characters make for one of the best Hiaasen novels ever written, taking the reader on a ride of murder, blackmail and behind the scenes strip club and corrupt puppet politics.
Buy Strip Tease and if you loved this also get the other masterpieces, Sick Puppy, Hoot, Lucky You and Stormy Weather. Any Hiaasen novel in fact is a great read and a worthwhile purchase.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the film: no Burt or Demi,
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This review is from: Strip Tease (Paperback)
I've never seen the movie. Film clips showing Burt Reynolds in cowboy boots, cowboy hat and towel didn't entice me. Neither did reports of Demi Moore's newly sculpted body, which I thought had been perfectly fine without surgical enhancements.
But having recently been hooked on Carl Hiaasen's writing, I picked up the novel -- without, oddly enough, even realizing the movie connection until I was a solid 100 pages or more along. Fortunately, by that point I already had my own vision of the principal characters and didn't have to picture Burt and Demi in those roles.
The movie was critically panned and a box-office flop. The novel, on the other hand, is an exceptional read.
Erin Grant is a stripper in a south Florida bar. A former secretary with the FBI, she took up the new career because she needed the income to fight her vile, larcenous ex-husband -- and his pet judge -- for custody of their 4-year-old daughter.
David Dilbeck is a Florida politician with a growing inventory of secret sexual perversities -- and, after a bottle-wielding brawl at the Eager Beaver, his lust for Erin Grant grows rapidly into obsession.
Meanwhile, a Florida homicide detective vacationing in Montana discovers a body floating in the water -- and the corpse just happens to have been a big fan of Erin's body of work, as well as a witness to Dilbeck's fit of indecorous behavior. One of the strippers keeps seeing famous people in the audience. A pet snake dies. A pack of rats is set free. And Shad, the Eager Beaver's burly bouncer, has hidden a very large cockroach in a container of yogurt.
Without spiraling out of control, the story grows to include a dogged investigator operating outside his jurisdiction, erotic creamed corn and linguini wrestling, an ongoing wheelchair scam, mutilated Barbie dolls, an over-his-head litigator and the powerful Florida sugar industry.
The various threads of the story come together as beautifully as Erin's outfits come apart. While in some ways a suspenseful thriller and, in others, a family drama, the story at the same time is innately funny. It all fits into a single yarn, tightly woven and colorfully devised.
It's a rare treat to discover so talented and entertaining a writer who's so well established, with an impressive library of novels already available on the shelves. Hiaasen has a wry sense of satirical humor in his writing, and his stories are intelligent and obviously well researched. I look forward to continuing my exploration of his works.
by Tom Knapp, Rambles.(net) editor
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Teasing the Reader,
I probably would have enjoyed this more had I not previously read "Native Tongue." However, the similar ironic humor, not-quite-what-they-seem characters, and convenient plot devices make the writing seem familiar. The formerly outrageous implausibility now seems too deliberate, almost scripted for a series of five-minutes scenes (and "Strip Tease" did become an awful movie), the sleazy villains and virtuous heroes are now predictably offbeat, tenacious, and plain lucky. We can forgive the manipulations on a first encounter, he's a good and clever author taking you on a gravity-defying roller coaster. But we're a little more leery with this outing, and the farcical is supplanted too often by the expedient. Again, he's such a good writer that you want to go along with him, but after a while, it's a bit too felicitous.
In "Strip Tease," the characters are, for the most part, either good people in unfortunate situations, or bad people in fortunate ones. The heroine, while appealing and feisty, is still somewhat of a cliche--the whore with a heart of gold--only she's not a whore, she's a stripper, and she's her own stripper too, refusing to do table or lap dances. And, if that weren't enough, she's doing this all to pay lawyer's fees to regain custody of her daughter. Here she is, a former FBI assistant, smarter than anyone around her, can type 70 words a minute, and only this job will pay the attorney? A job, no matter how how she limits it, that isn't likely to win many points in future custody battles. Makes for a fun novel, what with the easy target of a sleazy (but not too!) strip joint, a violent (but good-hearted) bouncer, and mostly good ole' boy customers, but not a very plausible one.
Again, this might work better in a pure farce, but the multiple murders, child endangerment, and unexplored exploitation of women works against this. The author would have us believe that the strippers really have the upper hand, but why, in the epilogue, do so many of them leave the joint for such heretofore unimagined pursuits such as law school? OK, let's just take it tongue in cheek...but after a while it begins to read like a male fantasy, with the author rescuing the women and punishing the unjust. While exposing the corruption of Florida's sugar cane industry, there's very little comment about the lurid, potentially dangerous life of a stripper. (Oh, those must be the "BAD" strippers, not the ones described here.) 3 ˝ * if you've never read the author before, he's funny, ironic, and writes an exciting conclusion, but I respectfully disagree with my Amazon colleagues who rate this a 5. Ultimately, the tease is on the reader.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars delightful romp into South Florida excess...,
'Strip Tease' by Carl Hiaasen might be better known through the rather horrendous Demi Moore film 'Striptease', which is a shame. It was because of its relationship to the film that I avoided reading anything from Hiaasen. But the reviews in amazon.com were so overwhelmingly positive I decided to take the gamble. And boy, am I glad I did. 'Strip Tease' is a delight.
'Strip Tease' is a somewhat farcical story of a stripper with a heart, doing her dirty business only to put bread on the table and pay back debts related to a (losing) custody battle with her hoodlum ex-husband over their daughter. Our stripper heroine has the most wacky friends and associates, and is caught up into a political murder/sex scandal involving a rather perverted congressman. Surprising, the story holds together well despite sounding much like a cheap made-for-TV film script. However it is Hiaasen's well-timed one-liners and satiric/sarcastic wit which really makes 'Strip Tease' shine; this book is seriously funny.
Bottom line: South Florida at its worst, and its funniest. Hiaasen puts together a comedic mystery with a nasty bite. Recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read the book before you see the movie,
The reviews of the movie made from this book generally panned the stupidity and "unrealism" of the characters. Those who took this route were badly off-base if they didn't read the source material. For if I am ever to write about, Carl Hiaasen is going to be my inspiration.
This is a novel where beautiful women are naked for most of the story. Yet it is not an erotic tale, and those wanting to pursue it as a book you would hide in the dresser would be misguided. For this story deals with the BUSINESS of taking one's clothes off for a living. Because it's all business, it's not erotic, even though it explains the erotic attraction of the industry. But this is not to say it's still not terrific reading.
I've read several of the author's works. He has a style where practically every sentence drips with a cynicism that only slightly skewers reality. Practically every character has flaws, as we all do, but it's those flaws that become the dominant part the character, and therefore fodder for a delicious literary dissection whenever they appear in the plot. Even a "good guy", like Shad the bouncer, is a felon who is planning to scam society, and is willing to punch out anyone in his way.
The only one to escape this torment is our heroine, Erin, which I find the only slight flaw to the story. As the poor mother given the shaft by society, and "forced" to earn her living this way, she's just a little too perfect as a human. She gets away with too much just by basically demanding it, and it would have been nice to see her nailed in a comical way, also.
The story would have been great with just the story of mom having to earn her living this way, but what makes it superb is how the author injects just the right amount of social commentary into this stories. When the average person thinks of Florida, where his books are based, they often don't stray beyond Mickey the rodent. They don't think about how developers are trashing much of the fragile beauty of the state. They know about how industry is pouring tons of pollutants into the Everglades. And when they put sugar in, well, everything, they don't WANT to know the exploitation of people, the land, and entire countries that goes on to get the stuff to your table, and for letting us know this, Carl Hiaasen is my literary hero.
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Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen (Paperback - March 1, 2005)