TOP SECRET: ALLIGATORS! by Harold Goodwill


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To get into Goodwin's story of alligators in the sewer you have to imagine not only talking alligators but alligators, snatched from the egg by hunters, who nevertheless converse with each other as if they had learned the language at their mother's knee. But the real problem here is not credibility but point of view. We open with the hunters as seen from afar (by whom?), then close in on them and soon shift to the young animals they capture. The bewildered hatehlings are followed from pet shop to homes to flushed toilets to sewers, where they meet an old alligator who confirms their memories of the swamp, and then the story turns into a loosely satirical sketch of bureaucratic officials who do manage to get the animals out of the sewers--and, unintentionally, into the river. But there is no evident point in all the changes of perspective; rather it seems that the author never really settled on an approach to his material--probably aware that the satire was not sharp or funny enough, the alligators not individualized or personable enough, or the environmental message telling enough to take the lead.

Pub Date: July 21st, 1975
Page count: 95pp
Publisher: Bradbury