SWEET ANARCHY by Nathaniel Benchley
Kirkus Star


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Remember the jovial ruckus when the citizens of Martha's Vineyard recently cried out for secession from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? Well, Benchley (a resident of nearby Nantucket) obviously does, and it has inspired him to fashion this bright little tale--about a crowd of islanders (a laconic, trap-jawed crew) that pulls off just such a coup: with the help of some highly inventive winging (by the island's nutty pilots) that tangles up National Guard helicopters, the island does indeed become its own principality. But a peck of trouble is in store for the new independents: their leader, Markey of the Board of Selectmen, is wheeling and dealing in the now-sovereign island's offshore oil--he's edging toward one-man rule! A good thing, then, that some of the more astute natives are dragging anchor, waiting for Markey to scuttle himself. Which he does, thanks to the sleuthing of Sam, a young off-islander who works for the town's one newspaper and picks up a True Love while snooping and, later, running for his life. It all bounces neatly to a big dust-up, with Guardsmen--faultlessly disguised as tourists--ferrying over for the finale. Exemplary tight-little-island repartee, mild eccentrics, pratfall melees, and authority-pricking wisecracks--in a dandy clambake that, like Benchley's The Off-Islanders (which became The Russians Are Coming), could be funny film material in the right, light hands.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1979
Publisher: Doubleday