Friday, September 26, 2008

Hi-larious


Double Whammy
by Carl Hiaasen

Crude? Check. Crass? Check. Raunchy? You bet. Clever? Undoubtedly. Funny? Oh yeah. It takes a certain talent to do raunchy without offending everyone who picks up your book. Not that some people wouldn't be put off by the crude humor of Double Whammy, but taken in context it adds up to a good laugh, which everyone needs once in awhile.

Hiaasen spins a good yarn - things happen that are too absurd to be fully believable, but for whatever reason the reader is willing to go with it. Likewise, his characters are over the top, but there is just enough truth in them (and their names are so dead on) to make them funny. For example, the shyster televangelist in this story is named Charles Weeb. It just fits. Likewise, a hermit who likes to cook and eat roadkill goes by the moniker "Skink."

Hiaasen is more than just a good storyteller, though. He is a columnist for a Miami newspaper and a passionate environmentalist. His novels, although entertaining, are also cautionary tales against the sweeping, unregulated development that leads to the destruction of the Florida Everglades. Double Whammy is indeed hilarious, but there is an undercurrent of sadness in it, too. One senses that the sadness is genuine on the author's part, and that he is doing what he can to wake us up to the tragedy of the destruction of creation that is going on all around us.

Reverent Reader

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