Jaclyn's Reviews > Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
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's review
Jul 31, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: the-south
Read from July 23 to 31, 2012

The one redeeming feature of this book, that was in fact quite good, was the beautiful alliteration. Russell has a way with words that is very picturesque and eloquent. I loved the many ways she found to describe people and situations. She has quite a talent where this is concerned, in my opinion. And it was this alliteration that got me through the book.

Other than the prose, I was not a fan of this book at all. This is the story of the Bigtree family, an alligator wrestling dynasty that lives deep in the swamps of southern Florida. The story takes place shortly after the children's mother dies, and takes us on the journey of their downfall as a business, and in my opinion as a family. This story just goes from bad to worse. The brother runs away to "save the family", the father leaves the two girls shortly after that, to go to the mainland on "business matters", leaving them alone on their island. The older sister is beginning to lose her mind and see ghosts, and no one sees anything wrong with leaving her alone on an island with a 13 year old girl, who is the youngest child in the family, and the main narrator of our story.

There were definitely a couple of surprising twists, and it's certainly a tale of human nature that tells a story none could forget, and possibly very real. For those reasons, I'm sure there will be fans of this book. My problem is this was such a sad and terrible story, and I was just so upset about how this family fell apart and abandoned each other. The book had an overall morbid tone that I did not enjoy at all. And when you add to that the fact that you're hearing about the events mainly from a 13 year old's perspective, complete with her imaginations and hallucinations, it's also slightly confusing. I honestly do not recommend this book. I found it difficult to stick with and the only reason I read it to completion is because it was a book club pick.

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