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Nature Girl Hardcover – November 14, 2006
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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.
*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
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Hiaasen's favorite place of all, the Everglades. The whole mass of characters mentioned above form a scrum on an island or two and wild things happen naturally.
This is a pretty good read, with some genuine laugh-out-loud passages sprinkled throughout. But it's rather formulaic and plot-thin too often. Not the author's best effort.
This puts her in a situation.
My one issue was the reading by Lee Adams. That didn't last. She's a gem and her characterizations were incredible, real and fun.