January 8, 2012


This is part of the TBR Double Dare!  Hoot is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while.  I went through a period in the 90s where I read all the Carl Hiaasen that was out there.  Light, funny, insightful and just pure pleasure.  Especially if you recognize the craziness from living in Florida.

I’m happy he’s writing books for kids now too.  I could totally picture them him subtracting the sex, toning down the violence and keeping the crazy bullies and wacko animals and knew the eco-friendly message would go over well with the kids.

This is pretty much what I imagined.  Completely irrational bully: check.  Minor eco-terrorism (more like eco-pranks, including a port-a-potty full of baby gators): check.  Wacko animal on a rampage: nope!  There are the aforementioned gators and some cottonmouths (with glitter paint on their tails--don’t ask; it’s Carl Hiaasen and that’s how he rolls.)

It’s about a middle school boy named Roy who has recently moved to some fictional town in Florida (why can’t I ever remember the names of fictional towns) and notices an intriguing barefoot boy running through people’s lawns on a day when the rest of the kids are on the bus headed to school.  He notices this because the previously mentioned bully is strangling Roy and shoving him into the glass window of the bus.  It turns out the mysterious running boy believes saving a family of endangered owls from a new pancake house construction site is more important than school.  He reluctantly lets Roy in on the scheme which builds to a satisfying, hilarious and relatively unrealistic conclusion.  Just like the Hiaasen books written for grown ups!

I understand this was made into a movie but it kind of came and went.  You really have to “get” Hiaasen’s sense of humor to make the right kind of film.  In the wrong hands this could be a generic happy-go-lucky, aw-shucks family feature, missing the requisite amount of satire, fear, and absurdity.

He’s got another one for the kids called Flush which I’ll definitely be adding to my ever-growing list.