One of the best books I read over the summer is now available in paperback, just in time for the holidays! Dave Barry has long been known as a great comedic writer and satirist, profiling his adopted state of Florida in most of his writing. Barry got an early start in journalism, eventually writing for the Miami Herald, and it was this turn in his career that earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1988. Florida is notorious for its multi-cultured population and ridiculous antics, both of which is well-represented in this book. It had been a few years since he had written a new book, so his latest book Insane City was much-anticipated! This tale of a mismatched couple getting married in the Florida Keys was hilarious! The funniest thing about this book is that the crazy things that happen to this couple and the wedding party don’t sound that far-fetched from what normally seems to happens in Florida!
One of Barry’s contemporaries, Carl Hiassen, whose stories also feature the state of Florida released a book around the same time. Bad Monkey also came out this summer. I did read and enjoy both, yet wasn’t Monkey wasn’t as funny as Hiassen’s standard. Hiassen has written so many great books, all of them super funny, yet in my opinion this one wasn’t half as funny as Insane City. Hiassen’s book features a capuchin monkey, Barry’s book features a Burmese albino python, both of which are being kept as inappropriate pets. That’s really where the similarities end.
Seth Weinstein, the anti-hero in this novel, is even in his own description of himself is kind of a schmuck. He is engaged to Tina, an accomplished attorney in D.C., whose father is a multi-millionaire. Needless to say, Tina’s father isn’t a big Seth fan and isn’t a big supporter of their relationship. The entire book centers on their wedding, which is set to take place at the Ritz Carlton on Key Biscayne. Upon arrival at the Miami airport, it doesn’t take long for Seth and his group of groomsmen to get into trouble. The boys get into a taxi together, with a driver who doesn’t seem to speak English well, and definitely doesn’t know where the Ritz-Carlton is. After circling the city, getting lost, and repeating the name of their hotel multiple times, they eventually decide to stop for a drink. It is here that Seth gets super-drunk and separates from the rest of the wedding party. The rest the weekend is spent recovering from this mishap in order to make it to the wedding on time.
I could not put this book down – and at one point I laughed so hard I cried! Seth’s luck could honestly not get any worse! His mishaps include a lost wedding ring, lost luggage, Haitian refugees which are temporarily hiding in his wedding suite, and of course, the snake! Along the way, both Seth and Tina question their relationship and wonder whether they’re really right for each other. This whole wedding seemed like a shipwreck from the beginning – but it sure was fun watching it sink!!!