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The Orchid Thief centers on south Florida and John Laroche, a quixotic, charismatic schemer once convicted of attempting to take endangered orchids from the Fakahatchee swamp, a state preserve. Laroche, a horticultural consultant who once ran an extensive nursery for the Seminole tribe, dreams of making a fortune for the Seminoles and himself by cloning the rare ghost orchid Polyrrhiza lindenii. Laroche sums up the obsession that drives him and so many others:
I really have to watch myself, especially around plants. Even now, just being here, I still get that collector feeling. You know what I mean. I'll see something and then suddenly I get that feeling. It's like I can't just have something--I have to have it and learn about it and grow it and sell it and master it and have a million of it.Even Orlean--so leery of orchid fever that she immediately gives away any plant that's pressed upon her by the growers in Laroche's circle--develops a desire to see a ghost orchid blooming and makes several ultimately unsuccessful treks into the Fakahatchee. Filled with Palm Beach socialites, Native Americans, English peers, smugglers, and naturalists as improbably colorful as the tropical blossoms that inspire them, this is a lyrical, funny, addictively entertaining read. --Barrie Trinkle --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Read this one-of-a-kind book and then watch the film, Adaptation, which is based on the book but has a real twist.
Aside from LaRoche I enjoyed learning about some other historic orchid collectors and the history of orchid collecting around the world.
From that standpoint, this is a book that will hold your interest although there is too much "me" in the book.
The story was not so hot, but I learn more about South Florida and orchards than I knew about. This book is a great primer foe anybody that want to learn how to grow orchard, or... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Anthony Welninski
Orlean keeps it fresh and always interesting in a deceptively fascinating deadpan style. She never lost my keen interest. Great read.Published 13 days ago by Doug Crawford
I thought I wouldn't care for it, but found it strangely compelling. A good read.Published 16 days ago by goldie
I got real antsy for this book to end. The world/culture/history of orchids is fascinating, but the story is tedious and repetitive.Published 22 days ago by A. S. LaPorta
Susan Orleans has a way of drawing you in with her words then painting orchids in rich living colors right before your eyes. I really enjoyed the scents and aromas she detailed. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Essehayes
If you reaaly like reading about every facit of Orchids then you will really enjoy this book. The plant is beautiful but its just not my DNA to know everything , and I mean... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Richard