Carl Hiaasen knows Florida. He knows the corrupt politicians, the narcissistic celebrities, the eco-terrorists, the naive tourists and the menagerie of other crazy people (or what some may call sociopaths) that descend on the Sunshine State. He’s seen them all up-close and personal as a lifelong Florida resident and, perhaps more importantly, as a columnist for the Miami Herald since 1976. It is through his best-selling mystery and children’s novels that Hiaasen has given the rest of America a peek into the outrageousness that is Florida. Who knew there was so much corruption on the professional bass-fishing circuit?
Many readers were surprised when Hiaasen dove into children’s literature in 2002. It seemed an odd turn for a writer known for his satirical takes on crime, politics, the environment, and sex. Now no one can deny that it was a brilliant move. His fourth young readers’ novel Chomp will debut on the New York Times Best Seller list this weekend — just in time for his Sunday appearance at Temple Judea in Coral Gables.
Unafraid to maintain his satirical tone, Hiaasen proves, as he has in his other children’s books Hoot, Flush, and Scat, that kids can appreciate Florida’s wacky characters just as much as adults. Hiaasen also doesn’t lose his pro-environmental slant that he has been unafraid to voice in his other novels. Chomp is the story of Wahoo Cray, a boy who lives in a zoo with his, to put it politely, slightly nutty animal wrangler father, Mickey. When Mickey, in dire need of financial stability, signs a contract with reality television show Expedition Survival!, agreeing to provide his wild alligators, snakes, and turtles for the program, Wahoo is more than a little worried. Cue a delusional host who thinks he can handle wildlife. Add in an unfortunate incident involving a hand being bitten off, a young girl with an abusive father and a lost search party. Now there’s a story.
Where: Temple Judea (5500 Granada Blvd., Coral Gables)
When: 4 p.m. Sunday, April 15
Price: Free, though tickets required. Tickets available at Coral Gables, Miami Beach, and Bal Harbour Books & Books.
Contact: Visit booksandbooks.com