Eric_W's Reviews > Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen
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's review
Dec 17, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: humor
Read in January, 1995

Virtually everyone and everything is corrupt, except perhaps the deranged ex-governor of the state, in Carl Hiaasen's marvelously funny Stormy Weather.

Bonnie and Max Lamb are on their honeymoon at Disney World when the one-hundred year hurricane hits. Max, being a good red-blooded American, immediately grabs his video camera and heads for the path of destruction to tape all the gore and devastation. Bonnie is not happy, feeling this is somehow disrespectful, but when Max is kidnapped by Skink, the ex-governor, who had tied himself to a bridge to enjoy the storm, and Max uses the phone calls allowed him by his abductor to phone his firm and check up on his advertising accounts, Bonnie begins to reexamine her new marriage. Especially, after she meets Augustine, the wealthy survivor of a plane crash, who had inherited his uncle's wild animal zoo. The wild animals, released during the fury of the storm, proceed to wreak havoc on some of the low-lives who populate the novel. And there are plenty of them, from the building inspectors who hadn't examined the buildings they had certified as windproof, to the salesman who sold the homes knowing they were unsafe, to the county prosecutor literally caught with his pants down in a compromising position.

Hiaasen makes scornful fun of Florida society. Ultimately, it's the ex-governor who may be the sanest of the bunch. Here's an example of Hiaasen's wit. He's describing seven missionaries from the Church of the High Pentecostal Rumination who immediately proceed to Miami after the hurricane as they make a practice of witnessing to all natural disasters.

"Every morning, the missionaries preached, consoled and distributed pamphlets. Then they stood in line for free army lunches at the tent city, and returned to the motel for two hours of quiet contemplation and gin rummy. The Ramada offered free cable TV, which allowed the Ruminators to view a half dozen different religious broadcasts at any time of the day. One afternoon,in the absence of a pure Pentecostal preacher, they settled on Pat Robertson and the 700 Club. The Ruminators didn't share Robertson's paranoid world view, but they admired his life-or-death style of fund-raising and hoped to pick up some pointers."

Another episode concerns a father's despair for his son, a notoriously inept hunter. The father resolves to give up trying to teach h is son the more subtle hunting techniques, particularly after th e son mistakes a bald eagle for some less illegal bird and blows his father's left ear off. The son is captivated by the hurricane, for it has turned loose hundreds of cattle and other farm animals into a land formerly devoid of animals worth hunting. Unfortunately, he mistakes a Cape Buffalo from the wild animal farm for a cow ....

A wild, hysterical romp through society's peccadilloes.
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