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Archive: Other Books > [Decathlon} Florida by Lauren Groff 3.5 stars

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Charlotte | 1663 comments Florida by Lauren Groff
3.5 stars

I enjoyed Lauren Groff's writing and most of the stories. Her allusion and prose was almost poetic. In several of the stories I could almost smell my old home state. I struggled on several stories because she got things about Florida wrong. You could tell from wording or what she called things that although she lives in Florida, she is not a Floridian. I tried not to get offended in other parts of the book... everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I think what frustrated me the most was the story about a graduate student that was homeless and during a part where she was remembering someone she mentions, "...Eugene's hungry spirits massing up from the prairie, the Crackers with their whips, the malarial conquistadores on their little ponies..." and I'm having a hard time with how she refers to Crackers here and in other parts of the stories. I'm trying not to jump to conclusion about what she means, but whether it is the stereotype of a southern landowner that time or someone that owns horses... Florida Crackers were poor and rarely owned slaves or much of anything. Most of them were not Spanish. The Crackers from the area that the author lives in come from Germany and settled in S. Georgia/N. Florida in the late 1600s... this is where my ancestors come from. (I'm 6th generation Floridian and my family is part of the settlers that settled the area that the author now lives). She mentions my alma mater in several stories even stating that the character, "...had been stuck at UF...", even though it is one of the top Universities in Florida and one of the top 20 in the US. University of Florida is 90 min from my home town but I did not feel "stuck" there, I felt honored to be at the Univ. my dad graduated from and I still get goosebumps when I walk across campus.

Overall, good writing... sad and dark stories. Florida basically a character in each story with it's wildlife or weather. I struggled on the last story as it seemed to go on forever. I'm sure others would rate this book higher, I just couldn't get past the disdain that she has for my home state.


message 2: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Very interesting insights to this book! I am not from Florida, but I can totally relate to being impacted by Home an author depicts a topic/place that you are intimately familiar with. If the author gets it right, it can be an instant 5 stats from me! But when the author gets it wrong? Well, I think your 3.5 Star rating is generous.

I am not sold on this book anyway...I am not s huge short story fan.


Charlotte | 1663 comments Nicole R wrote: "Very interesting insights to this book! I am not from Florida, but I can totally relate to being impacted by Home an author depicts a topic/place that you are intimately familiar with. If the autho..."

I feel what saved her rating is because it was short stories and there were a couple of times that she got it really right. One of the short stories, I could feel the thick heat on my skin and smell the brackish marsh, it immediately transported me back home. She also called the weather a "yellow wet wool" which is a perfect description of Florida in the summer. It's an indescribable heat that is so heavy... Aug, Sept and Oct are the worst. When she got it right, she got it really, really right and when she got it wrong, she got it really, really wrong.


message 4: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie | 4488 comments I adored Fates and Furies but, like Nicole, I’m not rushing out to find this due to the short stories factor


message 5: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Susie, have you read her other book? I think it is The Monsters of Templeton or something like that.


message 6: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2105 comments Charlotte, your review for a right in with the Sunday Conversation Topic for today. In cases like what you describe, I find myself wanting to contact the author and plead my points. haha. how about You?

great review.


Charlotte | 1663 comments Jason wrote: "Charlotte, your review for a right in with the Sunday Conversation Topic for today. In cases like what you describe, I find myself wanting to contact the author and plead my points. haha. how about..."

Jason... you are totally right it does fit in with today's discussion. For this author I chalked it up to her just being ignorant and gave her a pass. She got a couple of things right, but she got so much more wrong.


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