What happens to them all in the midst of the fiercest storm in years, the unpredictable ways in which this trip will change their lives and send them ricocheting off each other like a giant game of pinball, is the story of this astonishing, wickedly satisfying, all-too-human novel by, says Carl Hiaasen, "one of the funniest writers alive".
©2003 Dave Barry; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Belying self-deprecating disclaimers about his talent for fiction, Barry demonstrates that he can draw some captivating characters and keep a reader's attention in spite of-or perhaps because of-slapstick antics and a fascination with scatology." (Publishers Weekly
This has got to be one of the funniest and entertaining books I've heard. Couple Dave Barry's story with Dick Hill's narration, and you have a complete package. Both were excellent. To my surprise, the story takes a more serious turn with the culmination of characters in the final quarter of the book, but Barry is able to inject his humor keeping the book fun. And did I mention that Dick Hill is an excellent reader? The book might not make you think about the world, but you'll find yourself laughing even when you're not listening to the book, quoting lines such as, "Play the song about the guy, you know, with the car."
I was familiar with the columnist Dave Barry who wrote the short and funny articles I would see online and in the newspapers and expected something similar when I bought this book. I listened to the sample and heard the warning that there were “bad words” in the book because the book involved some unsavory characters and “that is the way they talk”, but was still unprepared for what I found. Yes, the book contains characters using hard language, but it also involves violence, murder and graphic human dismemberment and I personally had to skip past some sections because I did not want to listen to graphic details of extreme violence. I would warn people that this is not, in my opinion, a book for young listeners.
Having said that, most of this book is typical Dave Barry. The story involves people at the “Old Folks Home”, members of an unsuccessful band, cocktail waitresses, the Coast Guard, drug smugglers and others who all get caught up in mayhem trying to make legal as well as illegal livings. It is Dave Barry funny with an interesting set of characters, an interesting story and enough laughs to satisfy pretty much any reader. The narration is nearly perfect and the combination provided me with a reasonably pleasant, if sometimes very uncomfortable, listening. An interesting story, a lot of smiles, chuckles and laughs, very good narration and some strong violence so, for me, a mixed bag.
Dave Barry at his best! Barry is a master at the multiple, interweaving plotline, with believable yet hysterically funny and complicated characters. Listening to his novels usually leave me not only satisfied and exhausted (hey you people with dirty minds!) but also feeling wonderful about life. This is because not only are most of his characters optimistic even to the point of absurdity, but also because his books almost always end on a happy, upbeat note.
Somehow he's managed to involve: the owner of a small empire of cut-rate chain businesses, the mob, a 'has-been/wannabe' rock band, television newscasters, a pissant petty criminal, a variety of cocktail waitresses and casino workers plus the funniest two elderly gentlemen residents of a retirement home in a workable, complex and wildly funny plot. His characters are so well fleshed out that, when many of them reveal surprise elements to the story, the listener is as, if not more, surprised than the other characters! Barry is a Miami resident, and I don't know if the city and its environs are as strange as he portrays them, or even 10% as funny as he makes it, but if I worked for the Florida Tourism Board I would try to incorporate his paradoxically inviting humor into my game plan.
In addition, Dick Hill does a fabulous job as narrator! Some people have a hard time portraying people of the opposite gender, but Hill makes it work. He realistically imitates the accents and voices of the characters so ingeniously that listeners can even tell the difference between two retired nursing home residents from the New York City metro area. You almost wonder if the two collaborated on the work - the combination is that good.
Prepare yourself. Make sure you don't drink any water before you listen to it, and go to the bathroom before you start. (Don't want any accidents, do we?) Schedule out enough time to listen to it so that you can realistically either listen to it in one go if necessary (my daughter and I did it driving from - where else - Florida to Iowa).
This was a great book. I love the way Dave Barry takes a dozen different story lines and links them all together into a very satisfying ending. He has such great characters. You find that you know many of these characters in your own life and you feel about the ones in the book the same way you feel about the ones that live down the block from you (or down the hall from you). You don't know why he may focus on a character the first time he brings them up, but by the end you know the story wouldn't have been the same without them. Now hurry up and download it because your waffles are getting cold and I'd hate to have them go to waste.
Carl Hiaasen has done all these situations before and done them better. The narrator makes listening almost impossible. His voices all sound the same and his sustained tone of sarcasm ruins the jokes. I will pay more attention to customer reviews in the future. Very, very disappointing.
A light action/comedy story that's ideal for audio books. The story doesn't always require your full concentration and still remains interesting and entertaining.
I thought the narrator performed fairly well, given such a diverse range of character types.
Actually loled many times while listening to this performance, and this caused many strange looks from people around me. Narrator does an amazing job with the multitude of voices - each one distinct and full of character. Highly recommend this one, and I will listen again.
Dave Barry is a funny writer. He writes a funny book with quirky characters. Why does he have to ruin the experience with graphic, gruesome, gratuitous violence--like mutilation for the fun of it? I don't need dark; picaresque is plenty. Love Dick Hill's narration, though. He nails those characters.
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