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Hiaasen at his weakest
on June 11, 2008
Carl Hiaasen is one of the funniest writers ever. Given that both he and Dave Barry are South Floridians, one wonders if there's not something in the water that warped their DNA in a gut-splitting way. It's not possible to read "Lucky You" without constantly laughing, and marvelling at his ability to create weirder-than-life (or are they?) characters who parade through highly improbable (or are they?) sequences of events and relationships. He is also able to shift gears and write a masterpiece like "Hoot".
Having thoroughly enjoyed each of these, and a few others of his works, and having taken up golf late in life, I bought "Downhill Lie" looking forward to seeing myself skewered in it and having some good laughs.....but that was not to be. This book is a dreary explication of a diary he kept, and has all the earmarks of something written to pay the rent.
It's not an outright bad book, just deadly dull. His passionate concern over what is happening to Florida comes through loud and clear. His description of "The Villages", the place shown over and over again on the Golf Channel ads, brings home the reality of what a monstrous overdevelopment it is, and the dirty little secret that "free golf for life" does NOT include the good courses at The Villages, only the ho-hum courses.
RECOMMENDATION: Save it for when you've read every other book on your list. Read it at a library; buy it only if you are insistent on owning every book in the Hiaasen canon, and then only when it's on the books-for-a-buck remainder table.