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Publisher's Summary

Ex-reporter Joe Winder had been working in the public relations department of a sleazy family entertainment park, The Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, when he chanced upon a news-breaking story inspired by the disappearance of two blue-tongued voles and the bizarre death of Orky, the killer whale.
©1991 Carl Hiaasen; (P)1992 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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A Perfect Summer Listen!

This is the kind of book you read or listen to when you need a good laugh. In true Hiaasen fashion, the listener is introduced to a far out and crazy cast of characters who are put into truly absurd situations from beginning to end. Where else will you find a senior citizen group called the Mothers of Wilderness holding meetings at assisted living facilities to plot a scheme to steal the beloved Blue Tongued Mango Voles in an attempt to shut down the evil Amazing Kingdom?

Despite how improbable things get, try to be willing to take the ride all the way to the end. While laughing out loud you will get a lesson on environmentalism and come to love this crazy bunch of outcasts. To truly enjoy this, and any Hiaasen book, you have to just go with it. It’s a kind of a literary guilty pleasure, but it’s still more smart than trashy.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Ed
  • Saint Augustine, FL, United States
  • 05-18-11

Hiaasen makes me laugh out loud

Having read or listened to many of Hiaasen's works, this one was about what I expected. Funny characters, funny situations, funny dialogue and funny outcomes. What I liked about this book is he made equal fun of developers and environmentalists. He even made me laugh at my own PR profession. If this were the only book that Hiaasen ever wrote, it probably would have earned five stars. But his books are like songs by the BeeGees; they're different but they sound the same. And if you like one, you'll probably like them all.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Eric
  • Anchorage, AK, United States
  • 04-03-09

Another Winner

This is one of his earlier works but it stands the test of time and demonstrates true Hiassen genius. Well worth a credit (or even real money!)

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

How does the narrator do it?

How can anyone read a Carl Hiaasen book out loud without laughing insanely! Yet, inspite of the over the top hysterical attributes of his books, there is a serious underlying message about what is being done to damage our natural resources. A great read or listen.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Only in Florida

This is one of the more memorable of Hiaasen’s books. George Wilson is a solid performer. I lived in Florida for a long time so I’m quite biased as I can relate to the people and places Carl describes. Most humor is based on truth and “Native Tongue” is real funny. If you’ve never lived in or visited Florida, then I can see how much of satire is wasted on the reader of this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • CVW
  • Fairway, KS, US
  • 12-05-10

Something stolen, something blue

Another of Hiaasen's whackos-running-around-Florida books. Usual cast of characters - evil developers, pristine wilderness, etc, etc. He found the right balance on this one. Apocalyptic ending. Devastatingly funny.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Comedy to either laugh with or roll your eyes at


After a handful of Hiaasen novels, my hypothesis is that your first Hiaasen experience is the best. From that introductory experience, the thrill of it all either drops a notch and maintains a level of mildly humorous material guaranteed to lighten your mood, or you find the giggles slowly sliding into eye rolling, until you have to break up with Hiaasen. (Which reminds me of my first fiancé -- eventually everything I found so charming about him in the beginning, I later cited as reasons to loose the guy.) Hiaasen's humor still makes me smile, but I resort to it only when I need a little pick-me-up. It relies a bit on Murphy's Law mixed with ridiculousness, so there is an element of predictability after 2 or 3 of his books. Native Tongue had it's moments, and the expected characters, but it was a little dated, and a lot ridiculous. My fave is still Skinny Dip, my first experience with Hiaasen. NT is still the silly fun I've come to expect from Hiaasen, but at my 5th outing with the author... most of the thrill is gone. Let's just say I laughed AND rolled my eyes.

19 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Decent, but not as humorous as I expected...

Carl Hiaasen's writing makes me think of Dave Barry, whose books I LOVE to read. This was a pretty funny book - although Barry's books are a bit funnier to me. Considering the location of the book and the location of the author, as well as the very similar writing style, I believe that Hiaasen and Barry MUST know each other, actually. Anyway - I digress - the plot was incredibly complicated, but it wasn't too hard to follow, and the multitude of characters were all well-developed. As a main character, I couldn't really decide if I liked Joe Winder or not; he was a person that I don't think I'd want to be friends with. Additionally, I can handle the crass language in this book, but would certainly prefer much cleaner dialogue. I did feel that the story dragged a little bit in places, and I HATED how Hiaasen refers to the main character as Joe Winder...every single time he says his name. As if the book was filled with 27 characters named Joe. He was the only one! I started thinking of his name as Joewinder. Overall, interesting and somewhat amusing. I may or may not read other books by this author.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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another excellent Skink!

Carl Hiassen has developed a character in Skink that is both scary and loveable. Skink's methods may not appeal to everyone, but as I get older I can appreciare his "wisdom" and his efforts.
The narrator George Wilson is awesome.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 09-29-16

Can You Feel the Skink?

Often a positive review of a prolific author goes like this: well, fans will definitely love it, but newbies? Not sure. Carl Hiaasen's formula is so familiar to his longtime readers that I have to caution them: You'll like it, but don't expect anything you haven't seen before. But if you've never read Hiaasen, this is as good a place to start as any -- you may very well love this.

The elements of most Hiaasens: greedy land developers threaten ecological disaster, aided and abetted or fiercely opposed by a vast array of characters pulled right out Florida's varied fauna -- jaded journalist, bumbling burglars, loopy longtime locals, feckless outsiders, cynical law enforcement, an exceptional love interest, and quite often actual fauna, animals with interesting character traits of their own.

Native Tongue possesses another element that appears in some but not all Hiaasesns: Skink, the vengeful hermit ex-Governor who is kind of like a swamp batman. And his state trooper pal, Jim Tile. This is Skink's second appearance in chronological order, but since the narrative is not sequential from book to book, you can jump into his series anywhere -- this one's good, Double Whammy (Skink's first) is just as good.

This framework is usually put together to allow Hiaasen to take aim at some icon of Florida life. In Native Tongue, that icon is the Theme Park. Thinly veiled low-rent version of Disney World, here called the Amazing Kingdom. That gives Hiaasen a number of easy targets -- rickety rides, corrupt park practices, crass commercialism, militant environmentalists, resort golf, even cetaceans behaving badly.

All in good fun. For me, a half dozen titles into Hiaasen, the redoubtable George Wilson at the mic (that's a compliment), as is often the case in Hiaasen's early canon, it turned out to be good, albeit predictable. Slow start, especially since I couldn't tell who the good guys were, if there was even going to be any good guys. Then Skink comes along and the story soars from there.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • MR
  • 04-13-13

Ridiculous but you have to love it.

I love Carl Hiaasen's novels for the extremity of the characters, the ridiculous situations and the fact that the wrongs always seem to be righted. They remind me of how pantomimes compare with serious plays. I have read that they are based on true events and can imagine that with his journalistic past he is able to create novels based on the stories that he would have loved to be able to write. The themes in his novels are recurrent, the environment, corruption, big business, the desicration of the everglades and justice eventually being dished out by the downtrodden underdog. Native Tongue does not dissapoint and delivers all these within the context of a tacky theme park run by an ex mobster who is under the witness protection program. Serious Themes - Delightful Sillyness

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Gail
  • 11-06-14

Slow slog

What did you like best about Native Tongue? What did you like least?

Couldnt gel with the main character and the story didnt get any more interesting as it went on.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I just wasnt drawn in at all to the point that I havent finished it. I'll keep trying when I have nothing left to listen to though

What about George Wilson’s performance did you like?

He read it well with appropriate voice inflections

If this book were a film would you go see it?

no