NOTE: I was given early access to this manuscript in exchange for writing an impartial review. Thank you netgalley and Simon Schuster. Publication Date: May 2, 2023.
I’ve been a fan of Dave Barry’s for decades and found his newspaper columns to be entertaining and clever. He often demonstrated an uncanny ability to spot the irony, humor, and satire most of walk by everyday without noticing. As for SWAMP STORY, I guess every good writer is entitled to a clunker. For me, it simply wasn’t that funny. Awarded two stars on Goodreads.
I suppose I could praise Barry’s ability to translate the slapstick comedy of a Keystone Cops silent movie into a novel. But if I try to come up with my own best one-word descriptors for this book…. on the positive end, silly – and on the negative end, dumb.
The setting is Florida, which, according to Barry (and he lives there), is a one-of-a-kind place where anything strange can and does happen. So I guess as a non-Floridian, it is entirely possible that residents of that state will find this book a deeply insightful treatise and I’m just not knowledgeable enough to recognize its intellectual depth.)
The story offers a bit of everything in the way of plot. Alligators and snakes. A bit of romance. An infant in danger. Amateur movie-making. Long buried treasure. Incompetent crooks and muscle men. Even a few chase scenes through the swamps of the Everglades.
Barry pokes fun at everyone and everything. Our relentless passion for striking it rich. The vanity of beautiful people. The duplicity of attorneys and grandstanding of politicians. The meaningless of assignments covered by news reporters. TV shows about people roughing it in the wilderness. And the power and ridiculousness of social media where the most random events go viral – for no apparent reason other than the gullibility and/or stupidity of us humans.
Clearly, this book was not for me. But, while I can’t exactly recommend the book, it’s lightweight and easy to read. And YOU might be entertained by what amounts to a wild romp with characters you may well recognize from your own life.
More about Dave Barry.
If you’re interested in something that, in my opinion, better illustrates this author’s genius, read DAVE BARRY’S COMPLETE GUIDE TO GUYS. This one will make you laugh out loud!