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In his latest New York Times bestseller, Hiaasen introduces impassioned, possibly bipolar, self-proclaimed queen of lost causes Honey Santana, who schemes to help rid the world of irresponsibility, indifference, and dinnertime sales calls.


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In his latest New York Times bestseller, Hiaasen introduces impassioned, possibly bipolar, self-proclaimed queen of lost causes Honey Santana, who schemes to help rid the world of irresponsibility, indifference, and dinnertime sales calls.

30 review for Nature Girl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael Adamchuk

    Needing a break from all the news and disruption due to Covid 19 coronavirus, what better to do while in Florida than to pick up a Carl Hiaasen novel. Like his other novels, this one is filled with quirky, likeable characters - big hearted Honey Santana, out to rid the world of telemarketers, one at at time; loser Boyd Shreave, a wimp of a man and also a gullible telemarketer, Lily Shreve, is wife who hires a private eye to get him in the most uncompromising position with his girlfriend Eugenia Needing a break from all the news and disruption due to Covid 19 coronavirus, what better to do while in Florida than to pick up a Carl Hiaasen novel. Like his other novels, this one is filled with quirky, likeable characters - big hearted Honey Santana, out to rid the world of telemarketers, one at at time; loser Boyd Shreave, a wimp of a man and also a gullible telemarketer, Lily Shreve, is wife who hires a private eye to get him in the most uncompromising position with his girlfriend Eugenia Fonda (distant relation) (instead she settles for a video of two everglades anoles doing it); Sammy Tigertail, part Seminole but lacking the talents of a true native with a big heart and a mixed up personality, Perry Skinner, still in love with his ex, Honey; pervert scumbag Louis Piejack; college bimbo Gillian; and the Moaners, headed by Brother Manuel and assisted by sister Shirelle. With this cast of characters on a small island in the Everglades, what could ever go wrong? Totally funny and filled with a few nuggets of Florida and Seminole history.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Snotchocheez

    If you're at all familiar with Carl Hiaasen's fiction, you pretty much know what to expect when you crack open one of his novels. Hiaasen, who probably invented the genre Wacky Florida Eco/Crime Fiction, has in the past been a brilliant satirist on crazy goings-on in Florida, and every novel he's written pretty much sticks to the same format: Someone (or some entity) commits an eco-crime against Florida, is usually abetted (or the story is otherwise embellished) by an assortment of wackjobs uniq If you're at all familiar with Carl Hiaasen's fiction, you pretty much know what to expect when you crack open one of his novels. Hiaasen, who probably invented the genre Wacky Florida Eco/Crime Fiction, has in the past been a brilliant satirist on crazy goings-on in Florida, and every novel he's written pretty much sticks to the same format: Someone (or some entity) commits an eco-crime against Florida, is usually abetted (or the story is otherwise embellished) by an assortment of wackjobs unique to the Florida landscape. Credibility is often thrown out the window for the sake of comedy. Slapstick though it often is, Hiaasen's work has been poignant and often hilarious. I'm wondering though if there exists in the writing world a "law of diminishing returns" where if you keep writing books with the same formula, eventually you're going to blow your "creative wad". I think "Nature Girl" might be a bellwether novel for Hiaasen: "WRITE SOMETHING ELSE" it screams (at least to this reader). There's only so much wackiness to write about there...it's starting to get trite, Mr. Hiaasen. The set-up for this one just blows: a woman (Honey Santana, one of Hiaasen's oft-used sage eco-friendly vacant bimbo characters) gets her panties in a wad when a telemarketer trying to sell worthless land to her calls during dinner hour and is rude to her. She evidently is off her meds and decides to get retribution by finding out who this telemarketer is and invite him to an eco-tour of the "10,000 islands"... Hiaasen expects hilarity to ensue with this set-up...but I think I laughed maybe twice in 300 pages. Coupled with the fact that it seemed like recycled material from his nine previous novels (re-using the same characters from previous novels doesn't usually work unless they're sequels, and to my knowledge none of his novels are sequels), this novel was monumentally boring to me. (The part that I laughed (feebly) at? When one of the numbskulls shoots himself in the privates with a Taser...good times).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Strömquist

    After a practice run with Joey in the preceding Skinny Dip, Hiaasen went for a female lead in this one. I think he pulled it off and the book is just as an amusing and worthwhile read as any in his bibliography. After a practice run with Joey in the preceding Skinny Dip, Hiaasen went for a female lead in this one. I think he pulled it off and the book is just as an amusing and worthwhile read as any in his bibliography.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    I have read six Hiaasen novels, and of his adult fiction this is my least favorite. It is not a bad book; it is just not an interesting book. The characters in "Nature Girl" seem more "normal" then in many of Hiaasen's previous efforts and, ironically, despite the normality of the characters they come off as less human (and thus less real) then some of his craziest characters from previous efforts. And I can't figure out why. The plot is characteristic Hiaasen, the only deviations being that it i I have read six Hiaasen novels, and of his adult fiction this is my least favorite. It is not a bad book; it is just not an interesting book. The characters in "Nature Girl" seem more "normal" then in many of Hiaasen's previous efforts and, ironically, despite the normality of the characters they come off as less human (and thus less real) then some of his craziest characters from previous efforts. And I can't figure out why. The plot is characteristic Hiaasen, the only deviations being that it is a little less violent and much of the plot happens in one location. The descriptions of the characters are pretty typical, almost stock representations, and the plot is not unfathomable. The novel simply is not as funny as previous Hiaasen efforts, and the author inserts too much of his political biases into the story. Those are the only differences I can find from previous works, and that must be enough to sink this novel. Only one character stuck with me after I finished reading and that was the piece's villain, Boyd Shreave. Shreave is not as much a villain as he is self absorbed, whiny, and useless. Good things never happen to him, he is the novel's punching bag, and because we all know people like Boyd Shreave in real life, I enjoyed seeing him fail at every try. "Nature Girl" is not a waste of time, but I would read it when you have loads of time to spare. Readers will be more satisfied by earlier Hiaasen works like "Skin Tight" and "Double Whammy".

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mike Campa

    Lucky You, Skin Tight, Basket Case, Striptease...all books by Carl Hiaasen and all great. Very similar formats, also - Very bad but stupid bad guys and very good and pure good guys. The good guys always win and the bad guys get pretty much totally destroyed. But, the books are funny, rather than violent even though violence does happen...funny violence, if you will. And, the best part is that everything takes place in Florida! Often in the Everglades with heat, humidity, and bugs. Since I grew u Lucky You, Skin Tight, Basket Case, Striptease...all books by Carl Hiaasen and all great. Very similar formats, also - Very bad but stupid bad guys and very good and pure good guys. The good guys always win and the bad guys get pretty much totally destroyed. But, the books are funny, rather than violent even though violence does happen...funny violence, if you will. And, the best part is that everything takes place in Florida! Often in the Everglades with heat, humidity, and bugs. Since I grew up there (Florida but not the 'glades), bugs and relentless heat bring back fond memories. Nature Girl is typical Hiaasen fare - a couple of good guys, a couple of good women, a good kid and an assortment of baddies. A good variety of bad guys as well. Oh, and they lose. On further note...Carl Hiaasen is an excellent writer of light fiction with swatches of true life thrown in. Every one of his books has countless lines that I would love to have thought of. No complex literature but very fun reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is one of those pleasantly zany books where an eclectic mix of characters is scrambled together in a madcap plot and much sex, violence, and hilarity results. I've seen it done better, I've seen it done much worse, but I'm kind of digging how many books make out Florida to be the epicenter of American weirdness. (No offense, Floridians - I've only ever spent a week there attending a conference at the Disneyworld Hilton.) So, the characters: Honey Santana: Bipolar "Queen of Lost Causes" who, a This is one of those pleasantly zany books where an eclectic mix of characters is scrambled together in a madcap plot and much sex, violence, and hilarity results. I've seen it done better, I've seen it done much worse, but I'm kind of digging how many books make out Florida to be the epicenter of American weirdness. (No offense, Floridians - I've only ever spent a week there attending a conference at the Disneyworld Hilton.) So, the characters: Honey Santana: Bipolar "Queen of Lost Causes" who, after receiving one telemarketer call too many during dinner, decides to do something about it. Perry Skinner: Honey's ex, a Florida redneck. Former ne'er-do-well, now making a more or less honest living as a crab fisherman. Still loves Honey. Fry Santana: Honey and Perry's son. One of those precocious 12-year-olds we're supposed to like 'cause he's wise beyond his years and heartwarming and kind of snarky. I did like him; he's a good kid. Boyd Shreave: The telemarketer who called Honey at dinner. A sleazy philandering dickweed, the Dunning-Kruger effect in action, perfect anthropomorphic embodiment of all telemarketers. Eugenie Fonda: Boyd's hot mistress. Has already figured out that Boyd is a schmuck, only goes with him to Florida because she thinks it's a free vacation. Her last boyfriend killed his wife over her. Gillian St. Croix: A college student who gets dragged into the plot because... uh, she was there. Louis Piejack: Honey's former boss who turns out to be a creepy stalker. Thomas Dealey: A PI hired by Boyd's rich wife to collect evidence of Boyd's cheating. Sammy Tigertail: A Seminole Indian who's got some issues with growing up part white. Just wants to be left alone when all these white people drop in on his island. Honey lures Boyd out to Florida by running a reverse scam on him, and everyone else gets dragged into the escapade through a series of plot twists that are collectively improbable but none of which really suspends disbelief on their own. This isn't a landmark in American literature or anything, and there are no deep philosophical points made nor epic moments of character growth, but it's still quite a good read with a satisfying conclusion. I've never read Carl Hiaasen before, but this book made me favorably inclined to read him again.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Books Ring Mah Bell

    Hiaasen is my new favorite "guilty pleasure" author. So what if you don't learn anything from the books? Or, maybe you do learn things! Like how to outsmart a cocky telemarketer and how not to put all your cash into Beanie Babies for a HUGE payoff later. So what if he's not Shakespeare? Hell, maybe he is a modern day William! He's pure satire and cynicism. He's hilarious. Brilliant. Hiaasen is my new favorite "guilty pleasure" author. So what if you don't learn anything from the books? Or, maybe you do learn things! Like how to outsmart a cocky telemarketer and how not to put all your cash into Beanie Babies for a HUGE payoff later. So what if he's not Shakespeare? Hell, maybe he is a modern day William! He's pure satire and cynicism. He's hilarious. Brilliant.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ms.pegasus

    Anyone familiar with the Darwin Awards will recognize the seemingly inexhaustible variations on human stupidity of Hiaasen's characters. Since this is fiction, however, readers need not feel that twinge of appalled guilt. Moreover, in Hiaasen's world of the Florida Keys, there is good stupid and bad stupid. Hiaasen has populated NATURE GIRL with a gallery of colorful characters who launch bad choices like boomerangs guaranteed to deliver absurdist indignities. It all begins with a telemarketing Anyone familiar with the Darwin Awards will recognize the seemingly inexhaustible variations on human stupidity of Hiaasen's characters. Since this is fiction, however, readers need not feel that twinge of appalled guilt. Moreover, in Hiaasen's world of the Florida Keys, there is good stupid and bad stupid. Hiaasen has populated NATURE GIRL with a gallery of colorful characters who launch bad choices like boomerangs guaranteed to deliver absurdist indignities. It all begins with a telemarketing call, one of those annoying dinnertime interruptions. This particular caller is a sleazy loser named Boyd Shreave. The hapless prospect is Honey Santana, a woman her ex-husband Perry Skinner calls “good crazy.” She can't just not answer the phone. Instead, she resolves to track down Shreave and teach him a lesson. She may be crazy, but she is also resourceful. Shreave, meanwhile, revels in self-delusion. He has deluded himself into believing his dalliance with co-worker Eugenie Fonda is more than just that. He is also deluded in thinking that his wife is not on to his after hours activities. It's hardly a stretch to believe that he falls for Honey's scam. Honey is being stalked by her former boss, Louis Piejack. Hiaasen pulls out all the stops in his description of Piejack. “Thirty years in the seafood business combined with grossly irregular bathing habits had cloaked upon Louis Piejack a distinct and inconquerable funk. Were it cologne, the essence would have included the skin of Spanish mackerel, the roe of black mullet, the guts of gag grouper, the wrung-out brains of spiny lobster and the milky seepage of raw oysters. The musk emanated most pungently from Piejack's neck and arms, which had acquired a greenish yellow sheen under a daily basting of gill slime and fish shit. Nothing milder than industrial lye could have cleansed the man.” (p.188) These bursts of energetic writing are what I love about Hiaasen's books. Before the book is over, a dozen characters will be chasing and stumbling over each other on the aptly named Dismal Island. It's a hefty population jump from the normal census count of zero. This cast will include Sammy Tigertail, conflicted over his half-Seminole identity; Dealey, a private detective hired by Shreave's wife; Gillian, a feisty student on break from Florida's biggest party school; Honey's volatile ex-husband; and Fry, her ten-year-old son and the only sensible character in the book. This was an enjoyable interlude from my more serious reading. There are a lot of moving parts, driven by the engines of greed and lust, and they all come together in a fast-paced ending.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cori

    I love how Hiaasen's books are always a hoot. The characters are wacky, the plots are ridiculous, and Florida always comes out on top. In Hiassen's 11th book, he tells the story of a bizarre cast of characters: Honey Santana, a bi-polar mom whose heart is in the right place but who doesn't exactly think things through, her skateboarding son Fry, Fry's "ex-father" (Honey's ex-husband) Perry Skinner, Louis Piejack -- Honey's stalker, a clueless telemarketer named Boyd Shreave, Boyd's leggy mistres I love how Hiaasen's books are always a hoot. The characters are wacky, the plots are ridiculous, and Florida always comes out on top. In Hiassen's 11th book, he tells the story of a bizarre cast of characters: Honey Santana, a bi-polar mom whose heart is in the right place but who doesn't exactly think things through, her skateboarding son Fry, Fry's "ex-father" (Honey's ex-husband) Perry Skinner, Louis Piejack -- Honey's stalker, a clueless telemarketer named Boyd Shreave, Boyd's leggy mistress Eugienie, Thlocklo -- a Seminole not-quite warrior, his accidental hostage Gillian, a PI in over his head named Dealey, and some crazy people in a cult. And, of course, a bunch of other people. Basically there is a bunch of stuff that leads up to all of these people being stuck on an island in the Everglades. Like all of Hiaasen's novels (at least the half a dozen I've read), the story is pro-environment and anti-development. Most of the characters are really clueless but no one (other than perhaps Piejack) is truly evil. Unlike most fiction, it's impossible to stereotype the characters in his novels -- they are all so richly and originally drawn. Nature Girl was, as always, a lot of fun, but I didn't think it was Hiaasen's best. Usually there is an element of government or big corporations that I always enjoy. Still, I laughed and enjoyed the whole book, and I recommend it, as I do all of his books. My Rating: 7 out of 10 for being funny, heartwarming, yet a little gross. Not Hiaasen's best work, but quite good nonetheless.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    I don't even know what to say about this book. I listened to it on tape in my car and even nearly a month later I still haven't digested my thoughts on it. I did listen to the whole thing through out of morbid curiosity, but I don't know that I can say I liked it. The characters were so completely unrelatable that I never got attached to them. They were all just a little too extreme, a little too crazy. This is my first Hiaasen book, so maybe it's just that I'm not used to his style, but I'd rea I don't even know what to say about this book. I listened to it on tape in my car and even nearly a month later I still haven't digested my thoughts on it. I did listen to the whole thing through out of morbid curiosity, but I don't know that I can say I liked it. The characters were so completely unrelatable that I never got attached to them. They were all just a little too extreme, a little too crazy. This is my first Hiaasen book, so maybe it's just that I'm not used to his style, but I'd read such good reviews about him that I was really looking forward to this book and was so disappointed. I can appreciate one or two crazy characters mixed up with other relatively normal characters and that usually makes for a humourous story, but there was not one "normal" person in this whole story. It was wierd - too wierd. I thought Honey's relationship with her son was a bit too close for my tastes - who tells their son that her boss touched her boob? I thought Boyd was so completely dislikeable that I didn't get the connection b/t him and Eugenie at all. Eugenie was the most normal character in the entire book, besides possibly the private investigator, and even she had her oddities that set her off as not quite normal. There were a few, all too brief, moments of comic relief; but it's honestly a stretch for me to have shelved this book on my Humour shelf. (I just didn't know where else to put it and I think this was supposed to be a humorous story.) I may give Hiaasen another chance due to the rave reviews I've read, but I'm not in any hurry to have another repeat of how I felt with this uncomfortable cast of characters, so it may be a while.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gilbert

    Carl Hiassen is a wild and crazy guy.His books are over the edge eco-terrorist stuff. His characters are all screwballs but folks you would like to party with! In this one Honey is off her meds and reacts to the poor behavior if a telephone solicitor with and an elaborate action-revenge plan! A beach read that will make you laugh out loud.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amyiw

    3 1/2 stars My cat jumped on my keyboard and delete a whole paragraph of review, argh! So, I bumped it up for the laughs at the end. This started slowly, mainly because we are introduced and get to know several characters, which is a slow build. This is the story of all of them and how their lives intertwined on an island off the Everglades. There is the little bit of a nut job mom that wants to teach a lesson to a telemarketer that insults her after she complains for interrupting her dinner with 3 1/2 stars My cat jumped on my keyboard and delete a whole paragraph of review, argh! So, I bumped it up for the laughs at the end. This started slowly, mainly because we are introduced and get to know several characters, which is a slow build. This is the story of all of them and how their lives intertwined on an island off the Everglades. There is the little bit of a nut job mom that wants to teach a lesson to a telemarketer that insults her after she complains for interrupting her dinner with her son. It is about her son, the ex-father (as the mother calls him), the telemarketer and his wife and his mistress, and the private investigator hired by the wife, then the Floridian American Native that just wants a quiet place, the sorority girl that attaches to him. And then there is the crazy, obsessive boss of the crazy mom. It ends up not being quite the quiet place that the American Native was looking for and getting lost in the islands isn't so easy. This was really fun in the end but it was a bit of a push to get there. Hiaasen really knows how to draw his characters and I don't feel like he is demeaning women or drawing the women with a male eye. I could feel that a women had easily drawn these women characters. Just coming off of Blackbirds by Chuck Wending and I really appreciate the difference. Much different genres so not sure if it is fair but I loved these women, even the sorority student, Jill in the end. All the characters, even men, kind of annoy you in the beginning but they grow on you. My 3rd or 4th Hiaasen. I think I might get tired of the crazy characters if I read too many of these in a row but reading one every year hits the spot and a funny bone. I don't think I've not laughed while read one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Book on CD read by Lee Adams Once again, Hiaasen takes readers to the Florida wilderness – this time to the Ten Thousand Islands, of Southwestern Florida. Honey Santana is righteous in her indignation, smart, resourceful and possibly bipolar. She’s had it with people’s lack of civility and decides to take a stand when telemarketer Boyd Shreave calls her a “dried up old skank.” She tracks him down and tricks him in to believing he’s won a trip to a lovely eco-resort. Now she’s taken him and his m Book on CD read by Lee Adams Once again, Hiaasen takes readers to the Florida wilderness – this time to the Ten Thousand Islands, of Southwestern Florida. Honey Santana is righteous in her indignation, smart, resourceful and possibly bipolar. She’s had it with people’s lack of civility and decides to take a stand when telemarketer Boyd Shreave calls her a “dried up old skank.” She tracks him down and tricks him in to believing he’s won a trip to a lovely eco-resort. Now she’s taken him and his mistress, Eugenie, on a kayak trip into the mangrove thickets. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s being followed by her former boss, the lecherous and obsessed Piejack, who is, in turn, being followed by Honey’s ex-husband, Perry, and their 12-year-old son, Fry. And all of them find they are intruding on the half-Seminole, half-white Sammy Tigertail, who just wants to be a hermit, despite the college coed who’s more than willing to be his hostage. This is typical Hiaasen: zany antics, colorful phrases, quirky characters, and women who always outsmart the bad guys (or the good guys, for that matter). The plots are full of twists and turns, and imaginative coincidental meetings that bring these disparate people together. As unbelievable as the story is, it’s all great fun. A fast, enjoyable read. Lee Adams does a fine job reading the audio version. She has great pacing and sufficient skill as a voice artist to differentiate the various characters; I particularly loved her Piejack and Gillian.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    Not as good as others by him. The mayhem is convoluted, as usual in Hiaasen's novels, but the build-up to the normally scatty-funny violent scenes doesn't quite generate the idiot-logic pace of earlier books. But I read this in four or five mid-night sessions, so maybe I missed the train-wreck pace that usually brings the release-laughs. Hiaasen's motley (and altogether new) bunch of minor miscreants with ideas well beyond their IQ entangle themselves in a series of gradually knotting story-stri Not as good as others by him. The mayhem is convoluted, as usual in Hiaasen's novels, but the build-up to the normally scatty-funny violent scenes doesn't quite generate the idiot-logic pace of earlier books. But I read this in four or five mid-night sessions, so maybe I missed the train-wreck pace that usually brings the release-laughs. Hiaasen's motley (and altogether new) bunch of minor miscreants with ideas well beyond their IQ entangle themselves in a series of gradually knotting story-strings that eventually bring them all together on a desolate Everglades key. One new wrinkle is a very savvy 12-year-old, Fry, who, with his divorced, but still lingeringly fond parents (mom's the NG of the title) looks like a good candidate for future escapades. The worst of the baddies is comically misshapen, another has an interesting encounter with a Taser, and there's the obligatory (but utterly tangential) group of religious fundamentalist nuts. I'm a diehard Hiaasen fan, but will be interested to see if he regains his mix of eco-outrage, greedy crooks, and daffy, vengeful oddballs that lurks behind this one too, but somehow doesn't surface with the gleeful childlike schadenfreude of his earlier books

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    Funny. Carl Hiassen still has it. But I do wonder if he is looking in my families windows. He always comes up with the oddest characters. :)

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

    Over the long holiday weekend, I decided to get as much of my last-minute summer reading in as I possibly could. By the time I sat down to write this review, the promise of an early fall cool front quickly diminished. It seems like the brutal Texas heat is going to be sticking around for a while. I browsed my bookshelf for that perfect book to satisfy my need for one more summer read, and quickly landed on Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen. I really got a kick out of his book Bad Monkey, so I felt his Over the long holiday weekend, I decided to get as much of my last-minute summer reading in as I possibly could. By the time I sat down to write this review, the promise of an early fall cool front quickly diminished. It seems like the brutal Texas heat is going to be sticking around for a while. I browsed my bookshelf for that perfect book to satisfy my need for one more summer read, and quickly landed on Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen. I really got a kick out of his book Bad Monkey, so I felt his Florida-based mix of humor and mystery would more than meet my expectations. Honey Santana is on a mission. While sitting down for dinner with her son, the house phone rang. Her son urged her to ignore it, but Honey is completely over these calls interrupting their family meals. She is not going to take this annoyance lying down. Honey picks up the phone and gives the caller a piece of her mind. What she didn't expect was the man on the other end to verbally fight back. He calls her words no professional telemarketer should use, let alone any other respectful person. Honey quickly reaches out to the man's manager and relays her disgust at the hateful language that he used. For most people, that would be the end of the situation, but Honey is not most people. Honey wants revenge. Boyd Shreave is pretty much a failure at everything. The miserable man couldn't even hold down his job as a telemarketer. He let his pride get the better of him and committed the fatal sin of mouthing off to a potential customer. At least he still has Eugenia, his former co-worker, and current mistress. Boyd is ready to leave his wife and start a new life, but Eugenia does not feel the same. With the convenience of the couple working together gone, she sees little reason to continue their relationship. When Boyd comes to her with a once in a lifetime opportunity to vacation in Florida and canoe through the wetlands, Eugenia decides to extend their romance, at least for the weekend. What could possibly go wrong? Nature Girl has all the makings of a perfect summer read. Hiaasen mixes satire, crime, and compelling characters into a story that you won't want to stop reading. Shifting perspectives between each character allows for variety and adds a tinge of suspense that balances the more humorous premise. It also clues in the reader to every motivation of the characters, so we know what is happening before some of the other cast does. All of the threads in this book converge in a satisfying conclusion that teeters precariously close to the edge of absurdity. It is all in good fun though, and that's really all I want from my summer reading. Nature Girl was a perfect way to spend the last bits of the summer holiday.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ladiibbug

    Fiction - Comic Another funny book, featuring Hiaasen's trademark wacky and disparate characters, who find their paths crossing with hilarious results. His underlying message of man's greed and stupidity ruining Earth's precious eco-structure resonates strongly with me. In Nature Girl, Hiaasen targets telemarketers as well as those destroy habitats and foul Earth's water and land. Honey Santana is a great gal, a 6 foot pretty woman sharing custody of her son, Fry, with her ex-husband Perry. Honey Fiction - Comic Another funny book, featuring Hiaasen's trademark wacky and disparate characters, who find their paths crossing with hilarious results. His underlying message of man's greed and stupidity ruining Earth's precious eco-structure resonates strongly with me. In Nature Girl, Hiaasen targets telemarketers as well as those destroy habitats and foul Earth's water and land. Honey Santana is a great gal, a 6 foot pretty woman sharing custody of her son, Fry, with her ex-husband Perry. Honey's had a bad day at her job at the fish market, when her woman-crazy married boss tries to grab her breast. She hits him in a particularly delicate area with a wooden mallet used to crack stone-crab claws, then quits her job. Yet another telemarketer calls during dinner with her son, and she insults the guy, who in turn insults her. This ignites one of Honey's no-holds barred obsessive episodes, where she tracks the caller down and plots an over the top revenge. Outrageously funny, as always. Hiaasen's underlying theme of eco-destruction, particularly in Florida, is shown, not told. Never preachy, but he weaves this theme together perfectly with his stories and characters.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Thea

    I hadn't read any Hiaasen books recently, so I picked this one up. Several characters from his previous books appear in Nature Girl. At this point, I have read so many of his books, I can see the plot points coming a mile away. His writing has become predictable--you can tell which characters will die, which will survive but get their comeuppence, and which will be victorius. His characters have become caricatures of his commonly used stereotypes. As always, the environmental message is strong. I hadn't read any Hiaasen books recently, so I picked this one up. Several characters from his previous books appear in Nature Girl. At this point, I have read so many of his books, I can see the plot points coming a mile away. His writing has become predictable--you can tell which characters will die, which will survive but get their comeuppence, and which will be victorius. His characters have become caricatures of his commonly used stereotypes. As always, the environmental message is strong. This book feels as if he's going thru the motions now, his writing has lost it's spark. I wonder if he has software where he plugs in characters names and it spits out a book similiar to his others? Note to self: this is the second bad book I've read in the last 3 months! Must check out others' goodreads recommendations!!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    Lame. The whole book, it just never hooked me. It was fairly difficult to get to the end of the story, but I don't like to quit, so I slogged through. I listened to the audio book, which was perhaps a part of my under-enjoyment of this poorly written book. The narrator chose to use completely annoying voices for a few of the characters. Once I got past the narration, I was simply disappointed by the story line and the character development. "Nature Girl" is a terrible title. I recommend calling Lame. The whole book, it just never hooked me. It was fairly difficult to get to the end of the story, but I don't like to quit, so I slogged through. I listened to the audio book, which was perhaps a part of my under-enjoyment of this poorly written book. The narrator chose to use completely annoying voices for a few of the characters. Once I got past the narration, I was simply disappointed by the story line and the character development. "Nature Girl" is a terrible title. I recommend calling it "Deranged lunatics in the Everglades". But even that sounds promising, which this book is not. Characters are unlikable and it's a stretch to put them all in the same book. I like wacky characters but this was an uninspired disappointment of a story. This was my first book by Hiaasen, and I doubt I'll pick up another...

  20. 4 out of 5

    David Anderson

    I like to jokingly refer to Carl Hiaasen as the chronicler of #FloridaMan, but Hiaasen has been plying his trade for decades, well before there was such a hashtag (or hashtags even existed). His comic-crime novels set in Florida and full of quirky characters are always a gas. Few writers make me laugh out loud while reading them like Hiaasen does. I like best his series featuring Skink (aka Clinton Tyree, former Governor of Florida who quit his job in disgust over rampant corruption), but his ot I like to jokingly refer to Carl Hiaasen as the chronicler of #FloridaMan, but Hiaasen has been plying his trade for decades, well before there was such a hashtag (or hashtags even existed). His comic-crime novels set in Florida and full of quirky characters are always a gas. Few writers make me laugh out loud while reading them like Hiaasen does. I like best his series featuring Skink (aka Clinton Tyree, former Governor of Florida who quit his job in disgust over rampant corruption), but his other novels are great fun as well. Nature Girl is no exception. Highly recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Johnny

    I've had to add a new category to my bookshelf, just in case I decide to re-read and review some of the earlier books I read by Hiaasen. I've often had trouble knowing whether to call them "mysteries" because I wasn't ever quite sure what was going to happen next and sometimes, know who was behind the insane schemes and anomie of which these novels consist or whether to call them "black comedy" because Hiaasen uses his work to provide a cathartic release from the frustration he encountered cover I've had to add a new category to my bookshelf, just in case I decide to re-read and review some of the earlier books I read by Hiaasen. I've often had trouble knowing whether to call them "mysteries" because I wasn't ever quite sure what was going to happen next and sometimes, know who was behind the insane schemes and anomie of which these novels consist or whether to call them "black comedy" because Hiaasen uses his work to provide a cathartic release from the frustration he encountered covering conspiracies, cover-ups, and corruption for a major Florida newspaper that just wanted to "get along." For this one (and I suspect several others as I go back and review them), I created the comedy thriller genre. You won't see it in your local bookstores, but I think it's useful. There are people who don't like Nature Girl as much as I did. I am often amused at the zany antics and attitudes of Hiaasen's characters, but this one was laugh-out-loud funny for me. At first, I was very uncomfortable with this bi-polar protagonist with a passion for justice. I wondered if I wasn't merely being insensitive. Then, I realized that there was a grain of my own personality in her desire to strike back at everyone who hurt her and her family. In this case, since she was a single mother with an only son, her family was her son who, in many ways, seemed more mature than she did. But, the truth is that the protagonist had an idealistic and subjective view of justice and I realized that I do, as well. The son was amazing. The ex-husband was interesting. The telemarketer who provides the "tipping point" for one side of the horrendous circumstances, the fish market boss whose sexual harassment provides the "tipping point" on the other side of the scale, and the Native American torn between the current state of the "nation" and the proud history of his native ancestry is both credible and fascinating. In short, Hiaasen has assembled yet another cast of characters who intrigue and fascinate, while making us glad that we don't know anyone exactly like them. We truly want the best for them, but just don't know if we'd like to have any of them over for dinner. As usual, the author weaves together themes from Florida life (alligators as a protected species, environmental vacations, land scams, and the like) into a fascinating mixture of good intentions gone wrong, antisocial behavior challenged, motives misunderstood, and danger dancing around every tree. In a unique blend of Murphy's Law meets human flaw, I found myself with adrenalin pumping one moment, body shaking with stifled laughter the next, and tears welling up in my eyes at another. Where the late New Yorker critic (Dorothy Parker) once condemned an actor for running the gamut of emotion from A to B, Hiaasen uses the whole alphabet with some Hebrew characters and Egyptian hieroglyphics to boot.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    I bought this book in the Minneapolis airport when I was Jonesing for something light to read on the plane and during a long layover in Atlanta. I was not disappointed. There are a LOT of laugh out loud lines -- along with some biting political and social commentary -- which are Hiaasen's saving grace and why I read his books despite their cartoonish absurdity. The guy sitting next to me in business class on the 737, reading Brad Thor's latest, kept looking over at me enviously as I chortled and I bought this book in the Minneapolis airport when I was Jonesing for something light to read on the plane and during a long layover in Atlanta. I was not disappointed. There are a LOT of laugh out loud lines -- along with some biting political and social commentary -- which are Hiaasen's saving grace and why I read his books despite their cartoonish absurdity. The guy sitting next to me in business class on the 737, reading Brad Thor's latest, kept looking over at me enviously as I chortled and hooted through my "gourmet" pretzels. If he only knew... "Nature Girl" is NOT literature, and, frankly, it's portrayal of women borders on the offensive. The intertwined plots of this story are utterly absurd. Plot line #1: hot, hip, single, semi-deranged mom living in a trailer park on the cusp of Florida's 10,000 Islands lures adulterous 30-something ex-telemarketer loser and his 6 foot tall amazon, hot, gold-digging love interest to a phony eco-tour of the swamps in order to avenge his having called said mom a "skank" in a dinner-time telemarketing phone call. Parallel plot line #2: picaresque, half-Seminole anti-hero, one "Sammy Tigertail," while hiding out in the Everglades kidnaps another half-crazed FSU co-ed who dumps her loser boyfriend while they are on a canoe trip so she can "camp out" with the man she "tenderly" refers to as "Tonto," "Cochise" etc. You know - just your typical "Stockholm Syndrome" romance but with alligators, snakes and big mosquitoes along for atmosphere. The "plot" threads seem to go everywhere and nowhere with wild coincidences helping it all fall into place, with rough justice eventually served. The characters (particularly the women) are all of a "Hiaasen type": strong, over-sexed women; soft, obnoxious city-slickers; crazed red-necks (there's a Mr. Piejack, whose left-hand fingers are nipped off by a pot full of stone crabs and sewn back all wrong in an operating room snafu). Throw in a couple of handsome, rugged out-doorsy types and a fringe "religious" cult - and you've got the classic Hiaasen yarn. "Nature Girl" is full of people trying to be something they're not with hilarious consequences in a funny, if very predictable, story. As a long-time Florida resident, I give this book an extra star, only because Hiaasen is one of a few writers who can reliably capture the stone craziness (normally very depressing) of the Sunshine State. The late Charles Williford is another. But he's another review...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joe Cummings

    In Carl Hiaasen’s 2006 novel Nature Girl , the author once again takes a satirical look at mankind’s ruination of the state of Florida. In the past, the bad guys in his stories have ranged from greedy land developers to greedy casino-building Indians. This time, his focus is on that bane of mankind: telemarketers whose calls disrupt our lives at inconvenient times with promises of a little piece of the Floridian paradise at a special low price. The heroine of the tale is the quixotic (or poss In Carl Hiaasen’s 2006 novel Nature Girl , the author once again takes a satirical look at mankind’s ruination of the state of Florida. In the past, the bad guys in his stories have ranged from greedy land developers to greedy casino-building Indians. This time, his focus is on that bane of mankind: telemarketers whose calls disrupt our lives at inconvenient times with promises of a little piece of the Floridian paradise at a special low price. The heroine of the tale is the quixotic (or possibly mad) Honey Santana who lures a particularly vile telemarketer to the Sunshine State with the intent teaching him a lesson after she receives one too many unwanted sale pitches at the wrong time of day. A variety of other strangers in Paradise who are a part of this story range from a phony religious cultist to a dirty old man to Tommy Tigertail who was first seen in Tourist Season in 1986. Over the years, the Seminole brave has gone from radical eco-warrior to tribal leader. In the novels of Hiaasen that I’ve read so far, there is always the theme that Florida would be a paradise if it wasn’t for the people. It’s remarkable how he’s been able to make this point over and over again for decades with entertaining and funny stories. Nature Girl is no exception. This is a great read. Enjoy.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I loved Hoot and since I like kayaking and nature I thought I might like Nature Girl. Not so. Some of the characters were kind of funny, but I think they would have been better as extras, not leading ladies and gents. Most verged on ridiculousness (a drug-running mafioso ex-husband, a bipolar vengeful mom, a do-nothing telemarketer, a lecherous fishmonger, etc.) and I didn't connect with anyone. All of these very eccentric characters collide on an island in the Everglades and chaos ensues, but n I loved Hoot and since I like kayaking and nature I thought I might like Nature Girl. Not so. Some of the characters were kind of funny, but I think they would have been better as extras, not leading ladies and gents. Most verged on ridiculousness (a drug-running mafioso ex-husband, a bipolar vengeful mom, a do-nothing telemarketer, a lecherous fishmonger, etc.) and I didn't connect with anyone. All of these very eccentric characters collide on an island in the Everglades and chaos ensues, but no one grows or changes from the all the madness. It really didn't help that I listened to the audio and some of the voices were just plain silly. One read as a pirate at all times, and the main character's teenage son sounded like Beevis or Butthead. I think had I read the book myself, the characters would have had a little more depth. I've never listened to a fiction book before, and maybe I won't again - I don't like how they do the voices. Or maybe it was this particular book or these particular voices...I would have given 1 star, but it was good enough to finish the whole 9 discs.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    As usual Carl dishes up a dose of Florida's craziest characters and their stories. In fact there's a few crazy characters that arrive from out of state. Your sides will be aching after reading this tale of revenge and nature at it's finest. There's never a dull moment in a book by Carl Hiaasen! As usual Carl dishes up a dose of Florida's craziest characters and their stories. In fact there's a few crazy characters that arrive from out of state. Your sides will be aching after reading this tale of revenge and nature at it's finest. There's never a dull moment in a book by Carl Hiaasen!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Still

    Tonight I went downstairs to my fiction library checking out how many copies of Carl Hiaasen novels I own. Almost all of them - paperback, trade paperback, and hardcover... about 45. I enjoyed this one but I don't have the energy to review this. It was an exhausting read but it was fun. Tonight I went downstairs to my fiction library checking out how many copies of Carl Hiaasen novels I own. Almost all of them - paperback, trade paperback, and hardcover... about 45. I enjoyed this one but I don't have the energy to review this. It was an exhausting read but it was fun.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    I've never read this author before but I get that he has a particular style that might be fine in small doses but 300 hundred pages of unrelenting crassness gets pretty boring pretty quick. Also, the book touches on some difficult topics like the genocide of Native Americans, sexual violence towards women, and mental illness in a way that was heavy handed, and blunt, and yet somehow not at all revealing, or illuminating. This felt a little like a shell game -- this showing but revealing nothing. I've never read this author before but I get that he has a particular style that might be fine in small doses but 300 hundred pages of unrelenting crassness gets pretty boring pretty quick. Also, the book touches on some difficult topics like the genocide of Native Americans, sexual violence towards women, and mental illness in a way that was heavy handed, and blunt, and yet somehow not at all revealing, or illuminating. This felt a little like a shell game -- this showing but revealing nothing. Similarly, the characters, all crafted as brightly (or luridly) painted oddballs, never really transcend caricature or change in any interesting way. This all felt very intentional on the part of the author, so I feel like I had the intended experience (except some tone changes that puzzled me and took me out of the story), and that's good -- I'm just not the intended audience for a work like this. I think, for regional, zany, crime fiction, I'd rather revisit something like the Hoke Moseley series by Charles Willeford. Or, although less region specific (but with a strong sense of place, Detroit, LA, etc), Elmore Leonard's work. But my tastes change so much as I get older, I wonder if I'd feel just as underwhelmed reading those books again as well. Some books speak strongly to us at certain times in our life and then other times not at all. Maybe at some point in time I was the perfect reader for this book. But I'd like to think that some books, including this kind of very specific genre fiction, can feel more alive, and fluid and can move with you through life. This book is more like a pair of raw-denim, skinny jeans -- they are just never gonna fit again, and your old ass is fine with that.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    A raucous satire. All the characters you are introduced to, play a part throughout the story, all the way to the end. A fun fast read

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda B

    Zany characters, unusual circumstances, clever dialogue. I loved the storyline and can't wait to read more by Hiaasen in the future. Zany characters, unusual circumstances, clever dialogue. I loved the storyline and can't wait to read more by Hiaasen in the future.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This is a fun, easy-to-read yarn about the unfolding of a complicated plot to correct a telemarketer's bad attitude, hatched by an irate and wacked-out Floridian the telemarketer had the ill-luck to insult. The characterization is rather superficial, and since this book was written in 2006, and relies to some extent on "inside jokes" or critiques of contemporary problems the reader is supposed to be hip to, some references (but, surprisingly, not too many) were a bit "creaky" or out of date. The This is a fun, easy-to-read yarn about the unfolding of a complicated plot to correct a telemarketer's bad attitude, hatched by an irate and wacked-out Floridian the telemarketer had the ill-luck to insult. The characterization is rather superficial, and since this book was written in 2006, and relies to some extent on "inside jokes" or critiques of contemporary problems the reader is supposed to be hip to, some references (but, surprisingly, not too many) were a bit "creaky" or out of date. The book was also written in the pre-great recession era, when there was much more euphoric optimism. The people in Hiaasen's book had no particular fear or anxiety of where their next dollar was going to come from - all sorts of jobs and credit seemed to be available. A telemarketer colleague of the rude telemarketer, actually his mistress, had no problem putting airfare, a few days at the Ritz-Carlton, pricey meals, and sundry other purchases, on her credit card - all on a telemarketer's pay. I've previously - years ago - read some other Hiaason book and enjoyed it, probably why I took the present volume out of the library. He's a great humorist and this book delivers fun and laughs on every page, including memorable, laugh-until-you-cry episodes. From the perspective of our present-day muddled (to say the least) state of politics, environmental worries, and so forth, this book is a good break. The author transports the reader into various worlds - the Dallas, Texas, world of the callous telemarketer, and the world of trailer park resident Honey Santana (the "Nature Girl") near the mangrove swamps of West Florida (unfortunately, approximately where the disastrous hurricane Irma is currently churning away). The pretensions and phoniness of the better off in the book are consistently skewered, but another seemingly jaded/heartless character, the telemarketer's mistress, Eugenie, isn't portrayed as a one-dimensional chronically bored young woman, only looking for kicks. The mostly eccentric yet endearing denizens of the Everglades town in which Honey lives, are mostly drawn sympathetically, except for the arch-villain Piejack. Yet even Piejack is given some background, perhaps to soften his unremitting evil. That's the "nice" thing about this book: There are no entirely "good" or "bad" characters, and mostly, what befalls the characters in this novel, seems to ironically befit their character flaws. Honey's ex Skinner has to clobber Piejack in self-defense when Piejack was about to kill him, Honey and Fry, Honey and Skinner's son - Several sub plots or plots in the novel unfold simultaneously, and the strands of the plots are woven together in the final portion of the book. The book opens with the tragic misadventure of a drunken boorish tourist taking a sight-seeing trip via canoe in the mangrove swamp conducted by Sammy Tigertail, a half-breed Seminole Indian, and suffering a fatal heart attack when a harmless snake latches onto his throat. Although Sammy didn't cause the random mishap, he knows he'd probably be blamed for the tourist's death, so he attaches weights to the body and throws it into a river in the Everglades. Thereupon, he retreats to what he assumes would be an isolated island in the swamp to recenter himself - and deal with the spirit of the dead tourist, which regularly haunts his dreams. The contrast between the grave young Indian, hoping to achieve spiritual peace (although he had nothing to do with the tourist's death and tried to revive him after his heart attack) meditating, communing with nature, and the parade of campers -- all somehow related to the unfolding main plot involving the telemarketer, as well as an additional plot line involving Piejack - that descend on the uninhabited island, make for an automatically "funny/ironic" set-up: The crass world of materialists, college student partiers, religious fanatics, Honey and her telemarketer "friends" - contrasted with the Seminole's wish to escape the world for a while, and find peace. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a humorous break, even if it is slightly out of date (in terms of technology/references). It's mostly on-target as a general take-down of yuppie culture - the most sympathetic characters are the hard-scrabble denizens of Honey's small town (except for Piejack) and of course the Indian, caught between the world of his tribe (also a corporation due to casino wealth) and the world of the whites. It's a well-written page-turner, economically written and every page is a joy to read.

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