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147 of 154 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant prose...uneven story
This review has no spoilers...

Now that I'm done with this novel, I'm not sure I'm glad I read it. And it's as much my fault as it is that of its marketing.

First, I want to make it clear that author Karen Russell does indeed have prodigious talent. She writes with passion and energy, and there is not a page of this book that doesn't carry her...
Published on September 16, 2011 by Brian Driver

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270 of 294 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Original, but uneven
I had high expectations of this novel based on the buzz; I'm a lover of southern gothic and thought this would be right up my alley. It's the story of the Bigtree family, a "tribe" who runs the alligator-wrestling park Swamplandia! in an island chain off of Florida. Having the island to themselves except for the tourists, the Bigtrees inhabit a very different sort of...
Published on December 26, 2010 by Live2Cruise


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147 of 154 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Elegant prose...uneven story, September 16, 2011
By 
Brian Driver (Louisa County, Virginia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
This review has no spoilers...

Now that I'm done with this novel, I'm not sure I'm glad I read it. And it's as much my fault as it is that of its marketing.

First, I want to make it clear that author Karen Russell does indeed have prodigious talent. She writes with passion and energy, and there is not a page of this book that doesn't carry her florid stamp upon it.

It also has a great cover, and my paperback edition's dappled, textured surface makes it a pleasure to hold. And inside that cover are five pages of glowing reviews.

To be sure, one of the reasons I picked up this book was the teaser on the back cover: "As (the narrator) sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality." So I should have been prepared for a "bravely imagined book." And, well, I got that...but I can't help but feel it has some major flaws.

First: as to her talent, there is much to applaud; there is an ethereal aura of fantasy to much of this. As her debut work it is remarkable...her words have a magic to them all of their own, an alluring quality that makes the words on the page seem more like ripples in a small sea, rushing by you as you read. She knows how to turn a phrase, and the florid, fecund swamp is a rich field for her to plumb, yielding a bounty of surreal images and dark magic.

Here is one remarkable passage out of a million: "What rolled through Louis' mind were like the shells of thoughts, a series of O!s, round and empty, like the discarded rinds of screams."

Or, "I would vanish on the mainland, dry up in that crush of cars and strangers, of flesh hidden inside metallic colors, the salt white of the sky over the interstate highway, the strange pink-and-white apartment complexes where mainlanders lived like cutlery in drawers."

Russell gives us the narrative mind of Ava, a spirited thirteen-year-old who is rooted within the detritus of the eponymous family-run theme park in the swamps of southwestern Florida, a park that is crumbling in so many directions that it is difficult to keep up. When her mother falls terminally ill, the holes in the fabric of her family begin to unravel into ruin. Her father submerges himself into the financial morass in order to stave off bankruptcy; her brother rebels and escapes to become part of their competitor; her sister believes she can elope with a specter and live in the underworld; and it has been left to Ava to rescue whomever she can.

Herein lies my biggest problem with the work: while I have no qualms about recommending her lyrical prose and her ability to transform the Florida swamps into a supernatural quagmire that deals out life and death in equal portions, I felt at times that the story took second place to the author's stretching her prosaic legs. There's no doubt that "Swamplandia!" is a terrific literary work; I simply felt her beautiful prose masks problems with the plot.

For instance: in Chapter Six Russell suddenly splits the story into two narrative threads. This seemed, well, odd to me...I could gather no real reason why this additional character's thread was followed and not any others'...they ALL keep secrets and are wounded by the family business. Additionally, this thread is told in third person, while the rest of the book is in Ava's first person.

Another problem with Ava's narrative is a simple one: from what perspective of age is Ava telling us this story? Is she twenty, an looking back? Is she an adult?

In addition, by the story's end there are several major threads that are left dangling, though I am reluctant to list them and spoil the book for others. Suffice it to say that Justice with a capital J is not dealt out, that much of the ending is unresolved, and so is the fate of key characters.

And, speaking of the ending, I felt there was a BIG problem with plotting, and a coincidence that bordered on the ridiculous -- when I read it I wanted to shout, "Come on!!"

I realize life can be like that, but there is considerable effort to paint an imagistic picture of this family, and just dropping the ball at the end did little for me. And note this, too: the tale turns grim, very grim, and you should be prepared. It's not at all what I was expecting, and I felt this harrowing development was never really explored any further than the very fact that it happened -- but with no aftermath. There was no closure or consequence for this event...it felt like the author just ran out of steam.

I do believe that this book is a singular achievement for the writer, and there are many who will admire her talent. Ultimately, this forms the basis of the praiseworthy comments meted out by those who will and those who already admire her, and while the book didn't work for me, I never felt the five pages of praise were "wrong." What you want out of the book is up to you, of course; I simply did not enjoy it as much as they did.
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270 of 294 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Original, but uneven, December 26, 2010
This review is from: Swamplandia! (Hardcover)
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I had high expectations of this novel based on the buzz; I'm a lover of southern gothic and thought this would be right up my alley. It's the story of the Bigtree family, a "tribe" who runs the alligator-wrestling park Swamplandia! in an island chain off of Florida. Having the island to themselves except for the tourists, the Bigtrees inhabit a very different sort of world; they have a museum filled with family artifacts, children who are homeschooled and rarely set foot on the "mainland," and a mother who wrestles alligators. Things hum along nicely until their mother, Hilola Bigtree, succumbs to cancer, throwing the entire family into a tailspin.

After Hilola's death, Ava, the youngest, narrates the downward spiral of her family: oldest brother Kiwi goes to work at a rival theme park in a desperate attempt to alleviate the family's financial distress; middle sister Osceola discovers a book of spells and starts dating ghosts, and their father, Chief Bigtree, disappears to the mainland. Ava becomes determined to do something to save her family and especially her sister, who disappears on a journey to the Underworld to marry her ghost boyfriend. Ava ventures after her, into a journey that is more fraught with danger than she could have imagined. This journey is fraught with tension but it takes a sudden dark, disturbing turn that, without giving away any spoilers, felt like it had broken away from the original spirit of the book. The transition from magical realism to harsh, ugly reality was just too sudden to me.

The writing is very descriptive and quite lovely, but at times it almost feels like too much--or perhaps just feels misplaced, as sometimes it felt like you had to wade through a great deal of description to get to the plot. The switching of chapters between Ava and Kiwi's perspective also felt a bit jarring at times; it felt you'd just gotten into one storyline when you were yanked back into another. The novel itself has a very original feel while also recalling some other great works of literature; Ava's character is sometimes reminiscent of Scout from "To Kill a Mockingbird." Unfortunately while there were moments I couldn't put the book down, there were also moments I wanted to walk away from it forever, which made for a disjointed reading experience. Overall this scores major points for originality, but the originality is compromised by the uneven character and pace of the novel. It was worth the read, but didn't quite live up to the hype for me.
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176 of 195 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gators, Ghosts And Other Dangers Inhabit This Eccentric Tale Of Familial Obligations, January 5, 2011
This review is from: Swamplandia! (Hardcover)
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In truth, I picked up Karen Russell's "Swamplandia!" as a bit of a lark. The gaping maw of a ferocious alligator on its cover propelled instinct number one. Heck, who doesn't love gators? But, ultimately, what sold me was an endorsement by the wizard of comic mayhem himself--Carl Hiaasen. Hiaasen has, almost single-handedly, defined an entire eccentric Florida community of malcontents and misfits in the underbelly of polite society. And if he were willing to embrace Russell's Bigtree clan, that was certainly enough of an incentive to propel me on a trip to "Swamplandia!" Swamplandia! references an isolated wildlife park in the Florida swamps that is a product of days gone by. Struggling to keep the park solvent, we're introduced to the eccentric Bigtree clan. Opinionated father Chief, his introspective son Kiwi, ghost loving daughter Osceola, and gator wresting youngest Ava are still reeling from the untimely death of the family's matriarch who was also the undisputed star of their business enterprise. Each child has their own way of coping, or not coping, with the enormous void left by their mother's absence and the family is starting to splinter emotionally.

"Swamplandia!" is a novel infused with eccentricity. The quirks within the family itself are enough to populate a John Irving novel (and that's pretty quirky!). But like Irving, Russell has grounded her characters with an underlying sadness, yearning, and even hope that intimately connects the reader to their struggle. When a rival amusement park opens, everyone is desperate to keep the tourists rolling in. Kiwi sets off to the city and ends up working at the new attraction in an effort to raise funds for their diminishing empire. Chief then leaves for an extended, but undefined, period and the girls are left to their own devices. Oscoela, however, seems to have a tenuous grasp on reality and is soon committed to a courtship with the ghost of a long-dead sailor. It's left to little Ava to come to terms with Oscoela's condition which leads to an excursion across the barren swamps.

I know, by now, you're probably asking yourself "what the heck is he talking about?" That's alright, though, I'm being purposefully vague not to reveal too much of what transpires. The novel settles into the format of alternating chapters hosted by Kiwi and Ava. Kiwi's exposure to mainland culture is played for big laughs but his coming to terms with himself as a man is one of Russell's greatest achievements. Ava's chapters, meanwhile, play out as an adventure tale wrought with mystery and danger. But is that peril real or imagined? Might it be just the impetus to reconnect the family? Or is it already too late? The story brings things to a convenient, but satisfying, conclusion in which the Bigtrees must ultimately face the realities they've been avoiding.

Karen Russell's tale has been praised for its originality, but its central themes are common throughout literature. In some ways, Ava's world view reminded me a bit of Scout in "To Kill A Mockingbird." The strength of Ava is what will keep the reader invested. The colorful language, the offbeat locales, and the satiric edge (I especially loved the wickedly funny new theme park!) are all wonderfully enticing. But it's the characters that have to sell it. Eccentricity for the sake of eccentricity is the death knell of any entertainment, so I was appreciative that Russell was able to balance her outrageous tale with identifiable humanism. Sometimes the story was uneven and the final denouement lacked some conviction, but overall "Swamplandia!" proved to be an undeniably appealing destination. KGHarris, 1/11.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much description and not enough story, September 24, 2012
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This review is from: Swamplandia! (Hardcover)
St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves:Swamplandia!::The Lovely Bones:The Almost Moon

(The first two are books by Karen Russell; the second two are books by Alice Sebold.) In both cases, the authors prove that they are wonderful writers capable of producing masterpieces. Then they follow up with colossal disappointments.

Gosh, I feel kind of guilty for writing that because I adore Karen Russell's collection of short stories (I gave it five stars on Goodreads!), and even have the publication date of her follow-up collection marked on my calendar. And I was so excited for this book that I bought it before it was available in paperback or as a used book.

The problem with this book boils down to this: Russell cannot leave any leaf undescribed. If Ava takes two steps forward, Russell has to describe the foliage, the color of the sky, the shadows in the water, the sound that the wind makes in the water, the distinction between that and the sound the wind is making in the trees, how fast Ava's heart is beating, what birds are making songs, what the songs sound like ... it seems more like a creative writing exercise for a fiction writing class than an actual story.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Originality and Good Writing Aren't Enough, May 15, 2012
This review is from: Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
This book is certainly original, and it describes in fascinating detail a new and strange world - the world of the Ten Thousand Islands off the coast of Florida. The landscape and environment the author paints are vivid and stark, with a haunting sense of reality. Her prose is outstanding, for the most part, drawing the reader in from the first sentence, though in places it feels uneven and choppy.

The two main characters (Ava and Kiwi) both grow up throughout the course of the novel, and so it is a coming-of-age tale of sorts. There is some amount of depth to each of these characters, and it is interesting to watch them learn and change.

Unfortunately, this is where my praise ends, because those things in and of themselves are not enough to make a good novel. My main complaints:

1) There seems to be very little coherent plot or drive in this book - it seems more to be a number of short stories or vignettes strung together than a novel with any kind of over-arching plot line.

2) The pacing is very uneven. The first half to two-thirds of the book seems not to move at all. I felt as though the action somehow was frozen in place - nothing happened. It seemed she took 250 pages to tell us that the family was broken over the death of the mother. And then the action took off, and it was a breakneck pace with events happening one after the other. The ending felt rushed and contrived and slapped together.

3) Speaking of contrived, there are far too many coincidences near the end of the book, especially in Kiwi's story line. He just happens to find himself in one incredible situation after another that move his story forward. One deus ex machina is, perhaps, forgivable, but there were at least four major instances of this in the last fourth of the book, and that's sloppy story telling.

4) Partway through the book, the story begins alternating between Ava's story and Kiwi's story. Ava has been the narrator to this point, and so it is a bit jarring and confusing when it suddenly jumps to a third-person description of what Kiwi is doing. I never quite got used to the switching between characters.

5) As several others have mentioned, there's a disturbing plot element toward the end of the book that really doesn't add anything to the story. Nor is it dealt with in any meaningful way. It was foreshadowed for many chapters - I saw it coming from a mile off - but it seemed to be there only for the shock value. Perhaps the author felt she had to include some element like this to be considered real literature.

6) The book is far too long. I don't mind long novels (if they're done well) - and 400 pages really isn't that long for a novel - but this one dragged on and on and on.

Overall, a disappointing read. Save your time and your dollars and find something else instead.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nihilistic, inconsistent, slow, and depressing!! (SPOILER ALERT!), October 31, 2013
This review is from: Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
I chose Swamplandia! for my book club because I thought it sounded like a fun, quirky read. I was wrong on an unbelievable number of levels. While the introduction of young Ava Bigtree and her family is attention grabbing, my interest quickly waned. Ava's mother dies of cancer in the first chapter of the book, leaving the family to each cope with their grief in various ways, while they brainstorm about how to save their alligator wrestling theme park. I got my first inkling of how frustrated I was going to be with this book, when the older sister, "Ossie" starts messing around with Ouija boards and other occultic practices. She starts "dating" ghosts, becoming involved to the point of being "possesed" by them and wandering around after dark in a trancelike state. Her father's reaction to this? "Oh she's just "lovesick", "it's just a phase" (WHAT. THE. HECK.?????). Then Kiwi, the older brother defects, to a rival theme park, and embarks on a very boring, very depressing journey of self discovery. The author doesn't really bother to develop his relationship with the rest of the family, and I never cared much about whether or not he reunited with them. Then the father disappears completely on a mysterious trip to the Florida mainland, and leaves his two young daughters to fend for themselves. Ossie, eventually "elopes" with her favorite ghost boyfriend (who incidentally has the most interesting backstory of anyone in the book). So poor little Ava is left to care for 90 something gators and an empty theme park alone.

Enter the Birdman.

This, for me, was when the story got truly interesting. The Birdman is a roving, gypsy like character who seems to have some quasi magical powers concerning the control of birds. He seemingly befriends Ava, who pours out her woes to him and her fears about her vanished sister. The Birdman tells her that Ossie has gone to the Underworld with her ghost lover, and that he knows how to get there. Ava wants to rescue her sister, so she decides to trust the Birdman and they embark on a Homeric like journey through the Florida swamps in search of the mouth of Hell. At this point I had become very engrossed in the story, and very invested in the relationship between Ava and the Birdman. I've read a lot of reviews which claimed that they knew the Birdman was bad news from the beginning, but I never got that vibe. Right from the start, he is depicted as caring and respectful toward Ava. He has multiple opportunities to take advantage of her, but he never does. In my opinion, the way the author writes him, and writes Ava's interaction with him is utterly misleading. I was interpreting him as a mysterious, eccentric character with a lot of secrets, but not as a predator. There are many tender moments between the two and Ava even tells her friend she loves him. I was reading it as sort of a Huck Finn/Jim relationship, with undercurrents of the Birdman as Charon guiding Ava up the river Styx. I was anticipating a dramatic rescue of Ossie from a spooky, marshy Underworld, followed by a triumphant return to Swamplandia! I was hoping the Birdman would bring the girls back to their father and give him a thorough chewing out about being a negligent parent.

And then, just as the tension is reaching a fever pitch, just as you think the real world is about to melt away and Ava and the Birdman are going into the heart of Hades to battle ghosts and emerge heros... He rapes her.

Out of left field. Just like that.

I did not see it coming. It horrified me. I truly liked his character, and the revelation that he is not what he seems felt like a sickening betrayal. Worse, it resonated as completely unrealistic to me. It felt as though the author had run out of ideas, and so had him act horribly out of character, just to hurry along the story. The reader goes on to discover that there is no Underworld, no magic, no thrilling quest to complete; just a vulnerable little girl trying to escape from a paedophile in awful circumstances. I think if the book had been grounded in realism from the start, I would have been more forgiving, but Russell builds up the magical atmosphere, baptizing her readers in it until we are primed for a plunge into the shimmering unknown. Then she yanks us out and leaves us gasping on the shore, all illusions of mystery or beauty utterly dispelled. It is one of the ugliest literary slaps in the face I've ever encountered. It was at that moment, that I stopped caring about the book at all.

I thumbed through the rest of it just to see how it ends, and was treated to the information that about the only other good thing that happens is that the family is reunited. Swamplandia! is not saved. The Birdman is never caught or brought to justice. The family very anticlimactically moves to the mainland so the girls can start high school. The most irresponsible thing the author does though, is that she never deals with the fallout from Ava's rape by her trusted friend. Something as horrific as this deserves to be examined and resolved. It never is, and it is even suggested that Ava "misses" the Birdman after she is reunited with her family. I find this to be an outrageous addition by the author, revealing a gross lack of understanding about the psychology of rape victims.

So if a little nihilism sprinkled with nonexistent magic and irresponsible resolutions is your cup of tea, by all means drink deeply from Swamplandia! If however, you are like me and want to dive into something a little more beautiful, a little more hopeful, and unafraid of the magical side of life, give it a wide berth.
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101 of 124 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Way Out There, January 23, 2011
By 
Bornintime (The East Coast) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Swamplandia! (Hardcover)
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When it comes to buying music have you ever read multiple rave reviews about an album or cd and, without hearing a note, bought the cd? And then when you got it home realized that you really don't like the singer's voice? That is what happened to me with this book. There are many here who have ably described what this book is about, and honestly it sounds great to me also. But I just don't care for Karen Russell's style all that much. She certainly has a singular voice since I can't think of another author to compare her with. I can appreciate the talent that she has, but it does not resonate with me. With all the rave reviews there is a good chance that you will disagree. But there does seem like there are a few reviews here that feel the same as me. I suggest you read a sample of her work before you rush out and get this book.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much better than what the cover and the Carl Hiassen endorsement will lead you to believe, November 4, 2012
This review is from: Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
Contains spoilers
Don't pick it up thinking its going to be a Carl Hiassen-like zany romp. This is a deep, dark, tense, beautiful, halfway-satirical, poetic novel about so many important themes. Some of those themes include the dissolution of family, failure to cope with death, the loss of childhood and innocence, evil disguised as kindness. The first half of the book didn't grip me like the second half. It was lighter, easier, less forward movement. The second half propels the plot forward into dark territory that some reviewers say feels disconnected. I wholeheartedly disagree with that assertion as too with the claims that Ossie's character was not fully developed and (*spoiler alert*) that the rape scene was not necessary or not fully resolved. On the contrary, Ossie's character is purposely enigmatic. That's the beauty and wonder of her spiritual flightiness and it's what allows us to understand her wanderings and fear for the resolution of her story. If we understood her too well, the tension and suspense of worrying for her wouldn't be as intense. Regarding the rape scene, how can people claim they were disappointed in that element of the story or that they were left wondering if justice was served? This isn't a damn dime store novel. This is a real, beautiful, as I said, dark novel written by a real author. It speaks of death, loss, children left on their own to fend for themselves in the middle of the swamp. The Bird Man is a predator. We know that from the beginning, which is what had me cringing, nervous, with fast-beating heart from the moment he entered the story. And Ava is a young girl, alone, with no idea who to trust, having really only ever known goodness and love from the people in her life. She's been abandoned and doesn't have the wisdom or life experience to be jaded yet, to not trust this man. Of course he takes advantage of her. Of course he's evil. This isn't a fairy tale. And, as Ava's mother's voice tells her, "he's a man.". There is no magical realism in this book. That is such a bogus comparison. The characters are children with minds that rely on fantasy to fill the gaps the loss of their mother and abandonment by their father left them with. That the Bird Man ultimately behaves just as a man would is what grounds the book in reality and not the fantastical. It's what pushes Ava to abandon her childlike fantastical ideals. And the claim by some reviewers that there was no justice served nor resolution of the issue in the end, as I said this is a real novel that doesn't have to tie things up nicely with a happy ending like some dime store mystery. Ava finds solace in confiding her story to Ossie and in having her family back together. She's damaged but she's not broken. She is a ferocious, fighter of a character.
Lastly, although the second half of the novel is different from the first, it is not disconnected. The first half lets us love the Bigtrees so that we may be impacted by the loss, aimlessness, and abandonment the family copes with in the second half.
I am still dwelling on this book. I think it's important and beautiful and so well worth the read.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Garp's Ashes, May 19, 2011
By 
Jazzy Girl (Idaho, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Swamplandia! (Hardcover)
I started this book intending to love it, but by the time I reached the end, I felt as dirty as the swamp itself. I loved the unique setting and basic premise, loved the characters, and enjoyed the first part of the book. But in the end, this combination of The World According to Garp meets Angela's Ashes didn't work for me. Fundamentally, Swamplandia! is three short stories of a common origin that have been tenuously woven together. The story of Kiwi, the eldest brother, who leaves the family horror to face a new (equally horrific) life in the city could have worked for me, if he had been the POV character, but he floats through his own life as a victim until he is stricken by luck. His sibling, Osceola could also have starred in her own short story, although the tale she stars in is clearly a ghost story. But Ossie's story isn't about Ossie, it's about something that happens offstage, decades previously, and although that tale is fascinating, Ossie floats along on the periphery and we never really get to know her. The person we do come to care about most, the youngest child, Ava has a character arc that goes from strong and proud to permanent victim. I appreciate the writer's tug on my emotions, but the payoff didn't make the trip worth the journey.

The setting and the back story history of the dredge men is fascinating and lushly brought to life, yet the interwoven tragedies of these three siblings' emotions is stark and under-portrayed. This is a book where the innocent are punished repeatedly and the criminals all continue to thrive without repercussions. John Irving's Garp successfully held thrall with similarly fascinating characters, and Frank McCourt's memoir was similarly devastating, but in the end, both tales brought the reader to a conclusion that resonated. After all the horrors that these characters endure, I came away wishing I'd never met them. Additionally, the editing is rife with mysterious punctuation and duplicate paragraphs, something I've never encountered in a hard-bound book. I can see why the publishers loved the writing, but as a reader, the story failed me.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralled then dumped..., July 6, 2011
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This novel roped me in so well. I fell in love with little Ava. I was cheering for her and wanted so much for her and her family. The story is pouring with innocent naivete, and I can't help myself from just becoming enthralled with the beautiful thoughts coming from the child's narration.
The harsh introduction into the reality of the 'outside' world from the swamp hurt me along with Kiwi and Ava and Ossie. These children knew so little outside of their environment, and I pitied them with their resourceful individuality under adults who, seemingly unknowingly, left them lacking the information about mainlanders.

The first half of the novel is innocent and full of good intentions and brimming with a good, imaginative story. I was ready to continue and could hardly wait for how their adventures would end.

But then the novel takes a different, darker turn. The mood changes abruptly and is left as such for a long time. All those suspicions become the worst possible scenario, expected yet unexpected, and definitely unwanted. The dark reality of the world eats those children up, and it really makes me sad. The childlike optimism is lost and one is left in a murky depression.

I loved this book. It really is good and well written. But I feel deceived and depressed. I wanted things to turn out differently so much. So it's definitely good that it emitted so much emotion out of me, but I probably would not have bought it had I known how sad it would make me - how far it would drop me from my light-hearted expectations for a child's adventures into a dark alligator pit.

So yes, it's good, but I took it too personal.
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Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries)
Swamplandia! (Vintage Contemporaries) by Karen Russell (Paperback - July 26, 2011)
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