Readers may not embrace Florida the way the author has, but they will understand why a humorist loves it.




A breezy travelogue through swampland, strip clubs, and a retirement community reported to be rife with swingers.

As a humorist who has long found plenty of material in his adopted state, Barry (Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer Is Much Faster): Life Lessons and Other Ravings from Dave Barry, 2015, etc.) has come this time to celebrate Florida, though in the process, he recounts plenty of the sorts of anecdotes that have made the state such a national laughingstock. The author believes that the tide turned toward ridicule in 2000, when Florida’s pivotal role in the presidential election made the state seem particularly inept—and introduced “hanging chads” into the national parlance. Yet the more significant before-and-after where this book is concerned dates to three decades earlier, when Disney World transformed the state’s tourism in 1971. The Mouse remains the elephant in the room as Barry focuses his attention on Florida’s distinct identity as a tourist destination pre-Disney and what the behemoth has done to those attractions since. Typical is his visit to Weeki Wachee Springs, “which, of all the classic Florida roadside tourist attractions, is one of the Florida-est.” Its underwater theater and mermaid choreography may pale in comparison with the high-tech, heavily marketed Disneyfication of the state, but for those who love bargains and hate crowds, this is the Florida that Barry celebrates. “I concede that, by modern theme-park standards, it is dated, hokey and unsophisticated,” he writes. “In other words, it’s great. I mean that sincerely. Weeki Wachee is a time machine that takes you back to a different era.” The tour also encompasses the Everglades, Gatorland, and a ghost town with a haunted hotel. It ends with the back-to-back bacchanalia of an upscale Miami night club and Key West, “Florida’s Florida—the place way down at the bottom where the weirdest of the weird end up; the place where the abnormal is normal.”

Readers may not embrace Florida the way the author has, but they will understand why a humorist loves it.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-98260-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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