Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a fun and laugh-out-loud book populated with plenty of 'characters'. I have only been to Florida once, so I can't comment on the veracity of this portrayal of Floridians, but I can't see how someone can make up this kind of weirdness without a grain of truth behind it all.
Under the levity, there is a very serious undercurrent. Two white supremacists who are so busy blaming blacks, Jews, Hispanics, gays, and other undesirables can't look in the mirror and see that they certainly could do much better at being upstanding citizens themselves. Everyone else is a scapegoat for the disappointments they have with life, and never can they take responsibility for their own lives. While I found their antics funny, there is a part of me that was really dismayed at the intensity of their hatred for people who didn't look like them or live their lives their way. Most importantly, hatred for manufactured reasons that make no sense. As unlikable as Bode and Chubb were, I really liked JoLayne and Tom, although they were no less quirky. JoLayne is an animal-loving vet tech with a history of bad romantic choices that she leverages as a lottery win by playing her age at which she broke up with each one every week. Tom has spent four years trying to divorce his wife who has been evading him because she doesn't want to be a divorcee. Tom gets sent to a small town to investigate the lottery win and ends up volunteering to help JoLayne to get her lottery ticket back.
The romance was well-integrated into the story. It starts out as respect and friendship and a romantic entanglement progresses sensibly. Along with the romance, this was a fun sort of caper, on-the-road read as JoLayne and Tom pursue the fellows who have beaten her up and stolen her lottery ticket, as well as wreaking havoc across the state of Florida.
Hiaasen gives the reader some really strange characters, and along the way, I found myself getting sucked into this story, rooting for JoLayne and Tom, scratching my head over the psychology of such flagrant bigotry as evidenced by Chub and Bode, and enjoying the Florida local color.
I've read another book by Hiaasen, but it was a long time ago. I'm glad that this book reminded me to add him to my roster of authors to pick up in my reading adventures.
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