Naked Came the Manatee
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Naked Came the Manatee

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  1,575 ratings  ·  120 reviews
In South Florida, everyone wants to get a head. But not just any head. A very famous human head--severed and snugged away in a cryonic container. A head that could spark a revolution and change the course of history.
Everybody wants a piece of the noggin: rotund gangster Big Joey G., a 102-year-old environmentalist, hard-boiled Miami reporter Britt Montero, lawyer Jake Lass...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 20th 1998 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Catten
Once upon a time, 20 or so journalists at the Long Island newspaper Newsday, posed as a single writer named Penelope Ashe and wrote a really bad sex novel called Naked Came the Stranger.

In 1997, Dave Barry wrote the first chapter of Naked Came the Manatee and passed it to the right, in the tradition of that party game called Telephone. He thought he'd made up enough characters for all of the South Florida writers involved in the project. And like the first person in the Telephone circle, he lost...more
Ann Feeney
Like most such serially written books, Naked Came the Manatee starts out strong, but as it progresses, each previous writer is more and more likely to write the next one into a corner. In some such stories, the ending is a foregone conclusion, so the writers needn't struggle too much to assure that the assassination is foiled, the lovers are united, etc., but something that starts with an open ending, like this book, paradoxically creates more troubles for writers and readers. For example, Carl...more
Richard Gazala
Like the waters of Key Biscayne, in and near where much of the plot of this book occurs, this story is choppy. That's to be expected, given the novel consists of 13 chapters, no two written by the same author. Dave Barry kicks off the story, Carl Hiaasen finishes it, and the writers in between are all seasoned Floridian authors of varying renown. Some of the chapters are funnier than others, some better written, and a couple don't work at all. The approach makes for disjointed storytelling at be...more
Lance Charnes
Mar 23, 2012 Lance Charnes rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: South Florida crime novel completists
Shelves: fiction-satire
An extended gag as much as a book. Thirteen authors who have dished their share of Florida crime tales (including the top-billed Hiaasen, Elmore Leonard, Edna Buchanan, Paul Levine and James Hall) get together to write a chapter each of an increasingly bizarre tale involving a frozen head and a slate of characters so cracked they have to be Miami residents. Some familiar series protagonists show up, too, such as Buchanan's Britt Montero, Levine's Jake Lassiter and Les Standiford's John Deal.

Each...more
Andrea
Aug 01, 2011 Andrea added it
Interesting concept: 13 different authors, each of whom penned a chapter, taking the story in their own direction. Dave Barry wrote the opening chapter, which had me in hysterics despite my best attempts to stifle my giggles so my 8 year old son, who was asleep next to me, wouldn't wake up. A manatee named Booger? Brilliant!



I'd never heard of the majority of the writers, so I had no idea what to expect. Each chapter had its own style, its own flavor, but they all worked together really well. Th...more
AJ
I have lived with the legend of this book ever since my parents let me read Dave Barry when I was a small child (Bad move, parents. I'm super strange now and it's your fault).

In my mind, nothing beats the humor and weirdness of South Florida's best and most cherished authors: Barry, among others like Hiassen and Shroder, collaborated on the book and each added a chapter. You think this would make for a great romp, but really, it's just as confusing and halting as it sounds.

I even read this whil...more
Carolyn
I didn't like this one as much as naked came the phoenix by all the women mystery authors, but it was a cute, quick read. The concept of these "Naked came the..." books is great! Some are just done better than others.
Theresa Spencer
Booger the manatee is much more fun to follow than Fidel Castro, truly. I enjoyed this summer read.
Robin Berman

First time reading a novel written by 13 different authors. My thoughts:

1. Worth a read for those of us living in South Fla. or who are familiar with life here. Pretty much makes fun of everything here, mainly assoc. with Miami & Coconut Grove.

2. Very funny chapter that makes fun of the typical South Beach life style and the trendy clubs...and tacky private dinner party...a club called "Hell" with an aquarium dance floor filled with sharks. Note: Hiaasen later will write a book called "Star...more
Sarah
As Britt Montero says on page 158, “this is getting confusing.” Indeed. I was all ready to give this book a two-star rating until I learned that the book was originally published weekly (making this a real serial novel), so I decided to be generous and throw in an extra star for the authors having to solve other people’s literary problems under pressure, along with whatever else the authors were all working on at the same time. Props especially go to Carl Hiaasen for making pretty good sense out...more
Dolly
This is a strange and very unique story comprised of thirteen serial chapters, each written by a famous Florida writer. The tale is absurd, shocking, and wickedly funny. It takes pot shots at tourists, politicians, developers, gangsters and even Floridians and Cubans. I love reading Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry's books, so I was excited to see them work together. It seems the only one missing from the group hug was Tim Dorsey.

It's a very fast read and is highly entertaining. There are too many ch...more
Jordan
Jul 08, 2008 Jordan rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: fans of funny crime fiction
Before reading this book, I didn’t have high hopes. I’ve read a lot of reviews beforehand that bashed this book. Well, after finishing it I must say that I am pleasantly surprised.

It’s by no means perfect. When you have that many authors each writing a chapter in the novel, there is bound to be some problems. Overall, though, it was enjoyable.

One of the problems is that between some of the chapters, there are time lapses so the reader has to figure out “Okay what happened to that guy?” So in one...more
Kristen
In case you didn't know, this book is actually written by several Florida authors, each contributing a chapter and taking the story where they so choose. I believe it was originally published in a magazine, with each author submitting the next installment of the story. The first is Dave Barry and the final is Carl Hiaasen with several other prime examples of Floridian writing genius in between.

This book covers the bases when it comes to Florida humor, taking place in Miami, we have nature lover...more
Becky
this book is absolutely preposterous, and i mean that in the best way possible. this is the novel equivalent of the experiment we did in my 10th grade english class where everybody wrote one sentence of a story on a piece of paper and then passed it to the person next to them to continue the story -- except here you've got well-known florida authors writing full chapters. you can't read this book expecting it to be the slightest bit coherent or sensical. it's pure fun, so just go along for the r...more
Margaret
You'd think that a slew of seasoned writers could put together a better story than this, wouldn't you? It honestly read like they were more caught up in playing a game of trying to trip each other up while amusing themselves in the process than they were with creating a properly flowing novel.

If you read it from that perspective, a bunch of (otherwise) great authors coming together to amuse themselves and playing jokes on each other by torturing certain characters and at one point mutilating an...more
Andrew Lasher
The basic premise of this novel is that twelve Florida writers got together and wrote a chapter each. It was originally serialized in a magazine, so the way it worked was the first author wrote chapter one, which appeared in the magazine. With that to go on, the next author had to continue the story in chapter two. So on and so forth until Carl Hiaasen had to tie everything up at the end and make a coherent story out of it.

While Hiassen did write the best chapter (in my opinion), the way the boo...more
Patricia Staino
Ugh. Just ugh. While creating a novel by having a different author write each chapter seems like a fun concept, it is rarely successful. If you are a fan of Hiaasen or Leonard, you'll probably tolerate this book, maybe even enjoy it. But I was bored, found the characters one-dimensional and stupid, the "smart-ass" comments weren't funny but definitely predictable, completely don't understand why the manatee was in the book at all, and probably only needed to read the last chapter (by Leonard)--i...more
Stephanie
A great premise, but this book really foundered along the way. Each author tried to make it harder for the next one to continue the story, while planting what they thought were land mines along the way. It made for a jumbled mess, for me, and I didn't think it was very funny, either. Some of the authors were quite boring, and I read too many authors to mention.
It would have worked if Carl Hiaasen took the whole thing and wrote it himself. Yes, I am a HUGE fan of his writing. But this would have...more
Sheather Nelson
The premise here -- that a bevy of great Florida authors would each write a chapter to create a fun Florida thriller -- just didn't really work in reality. The plot ended up too choppy and there were way too many characters to keep up with (probably because just about every writer had to introduce a new one instead of developing what they were given). I did like what the valuable and dangerous item, which everyone was fighting over, turned out to be. In that sense it was a very Florida book. I a...more
Karin
This one was a little more jumbled up than Naked came the Phoenix,there were so many characters, I wrote them on a piece of paper to keep them apart.The book was fun because it's not so much the plot as seeing what the writers do with what's been done so far.Some of the transitions were really smooth with very little disruption,some were like a bucket of cold water in the face at 5 o'clock am.It's like a card game my grandchidren play; we draw a card and tell a story about the picture,and the ne...more
Elaine
Remember that game where you get a bunch of people together and one person starts a story then breaks off and the next person continues the story, and so on? Well this book is what happens when that bunch of people are all published authors. Just like those impromptu group stories, this story is a lot of fun, but suffers from characters that suddenly begin acting out of character, plot points that show up suddenly then just drift away, and even chapters that shift genres. Kudos to Carl Hiaasen w...more
Frank
This was quite the story and it is pretty amazing how the authors each kept the flow of the story moving. Overall, I enjoyed it but I think the plot became a little convoluted with a lot of characters being brought into the story that didn't add too much to the storyline. The plot itself was pretty bizarre - why was everyone after the frozen head(s) of Fidel Castro? I won't spoil how this turns out but it was pretty neatly tied together at the end. The last two chapters were written by Elmore Le...more
Teddy
I enjoyed this, but possibly for the wrong reasons. Watching the writers push each other into corners, temporarily resurrect characters they obviously had been looking forwards to playing with but who had been killed off, and generally make a mash-up of things was hilarious. I especially liked the chapter where someone who knows something about manatee biology took over and spat his or her dummy out about the liberties that had been previously taken, and had booga 'start acting like a proper man...more
Carol Waters
Meh. Implausible, silly, not very interesting. But the writers must have had fun with this one.
Michelle
What happens when a dozen or so authors with wildly varying styles get together and each writes a chapter of a book? I think they must have been having a BBQ and the alcohol was flowing. Dave Barry must have suggested it and Carl Hiassen agreed it was a good idea. The managed to wrangle a bunch of others in their weakened states. It's wildly divergent in style and the plot twists are bizarre. Is it great literature? No. Is it funny to see all these people collaborating on a single novel? Yes. As...more
Stacy
This is an interesting experiment, but it is a hot mess of a novel. There are characters that move in and out of the story with little or no explanation, each author wanting to add something new instead of trying to build on what’s there. The last chapter where Carl Hiaasen tries to explain everything is pretty funny considering what he had to work with. It was wacky in a good way, but it was probably best suited to it’s original form, as a weekly magazine installment.

more on my blog http://stac...more
Wendi
Fun book, interesting way to get a bunch of authors to write one book together. But at the same time...you get a bunch of authors to write one book and a couple of your authors are buttheads. I love Carl Haiasson and Dave Barry, but there are a couple of authors in the book who's chapters took a complete 180 away from main story.

Luckily for us Carl Haiasson ends the book and so he's able to take all the loose ends and weave them into a final ending that does the book justice.

Another good read....more
Cyrus
Dec 30, 2013 Cyrus rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: No one
It says its by Carl Hiaasen, but it is actually written by thirteen different authors. They are all Florida authors, and I really like some of them. Dave Berry, Elmore Leonard, Paul Levine and Carl Hiaasen are all great writers and didn't need to do a publicity stunt like this. The others aren't necessarily bad either, but the format for this book makes it hard to showcase their talents. The book winds up a disjointed and confusing mess. I wouldn't recommend it. Try each ot the authors on their...more
Lois Tucker
This is a round-robin book, where it was started by Dave Barry, who introduces a manatee named Booger, and each subsequent chapter is written by another author. I got about half-way through and realized I don't care what happens. Booger the manatee shows up in many of the stories, there are stainless steel cases containing Castro-look-alike heads washing up on the Miami shores. Whatever. I'm not in the mood. Each story was published in the newspaper weekly; this is the compilation. It was probab...more
Kelly
A+ for concept, a handful of South Florida's best writers take a chapter each of a book that tells the convoluted tale that features a sweet manatee, a badass aging environmental activist and what could be Fidel Castro's head in a box.

Each writer tried a little too hard to put their own stamp on the book, leading us down another trail of description and character development which wore me out. The characters were fun and flawed and kept me reading.
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Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his family. After graduating from the University of Florida, he began writing for the Miami Herald. As a journalist and author, Carl has spend most of his life advocating the protection of the Florida Everglades. He and his family still live southern Florida.
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