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If you are familiar with Carl Hiassen's earlier novels, you know that he loves to take an ordinary event that we pretty much ignore, whether it be watching someone littering or wasting resources, and propose an extremely activist reaction that sets off a series of pratfalls and dominoes toppling over that create more complications. That familiar formula is employed again in Nature Girl. This time, Mr. Hiaasen takes aim at dinnertime telemarketers who are offering services and products of dubious value.

Honey Santana, who hears musical static in her head even when there's no music playing, does something you wouldn't do: She actually picks up telephone calls at dinnertime. Then, if it's a telemarketer, she gives the person a hard time. When she shoves back at Boyd Shreave who's pushing undeveloped land in northern Florida, Shreave pops and makes a derogatory remark. Honey isn't going to take that kind of behavior sitting down, and she begins to plot her revenge.

Like a modern-day, slightly cracked Rosalind (from As You Like It), Honey figures out who Shreave is and lures him into coming to Florida for a "free vacation" which entails staying in her double-wide and taking kayaks out into the Everglades towards Dismal Key. Shreave brings along his lover, a fellow telemarketer named Eugenie Fonda, who is quickly bored by Shreave and the "vacation." In the background, Boyd's wife is onto him and has hired a private investigator to trail Boyd around to get compromising photographs that seem to turn his wife on.

Honey is a single mom with a single son who causes her to worry too much. She's recently lost her job due to belting her boss who gave her a top-side squeeze where he shouldn't have been squeezing. Soon, the boss has reasons to be upset after someone sends goons to work him over in a most unusual fashion. After a mix-up at the hospital, the boss has more reasons to wonder what might be coming next. Honey's son is always concerned when Honey goes on a rampage, and her ex-husband is leery of aiding and abetting these forays.

Independently, Sammy Tigertail, a half-Seminole, finds himself with a corpse on his hands and a desire to stay out of the limelight. So he heads for the Everglades to keep a low profile.

Like a chain reaction, these characters and many more collide in the Everglades in virtually nonstop action and mix-ups as allies, enemies, and strangers bump into each other and shift roles almost as frequently as most people change clothing. While there, you'll think you are back with Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream as attraction begins to work in unexpected . . . and often undesired . . . ways. A few bashes in the head (and other places) cause minds to be changed, and only one life is left pretty unaffected by all this. You'll have to read the book to see who remains constant.

Unlike his earlier books where the misbehavior that triggers a reaction seems pretty undesirable, it's hard to get worked up about telemarketers pushing real estate. That premise seems just like an excuse to get the plot going. The plot itself twists and turns beyond what's needed to be entertaining . . . and stretches quite hard to provide guffaws and belly laughs. It's as though Shakespeare wrote all of his lines for the fool.

If you need a good laugh, you'll enjoy the book. But it's not as good as the usual Carl Hiaasen novel.
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on 22 November 2009
Back in the day Hiaasen's Florida-set comic thrillers were really unmissable. His first five, from Tourist Season to Strip Tease (turned into a poor film) set up his trademark style of fast-paced, funny, eco-aware thrillers populated by surreal characters with rich and bizarre back-stories. Hiaasen's journalistic background and clearly deep love for the Florida environment gave an authenticity and authority to his impossible plot-lines which left the reader thinking whether Floridians could actually be like that.

Unfortunately, great though the books were, there was a risk of formula fatigue which for me set in with Stormy Weather and I hadn't read a Hiaasen for ages before stumbling across Nature Girl. All the good things are still there, Hiaasen remains a superbly tight and engrossing writer and I ended up reading the book in a day. The typical Hiassan heroine, a beautiful, spirited-if-crazy woman plans an unreal revenge on a typical Hiassen villain (this time a slimy, weak-willed telemarketer). It all goes wrong but Florida's wilderness and common decency are redeemed by more gorgeous fantasy-feisty females and a couple of rough-hewn salt-of-the earth guys with guns.

Unfortunately as a long-time Hiassen aficionado I'd guessed the entire plot by page 80 and was essentially just going along for the ride. But an enjoyable enough ride, nonetheless.
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on 17 February 2012
When Boyd Shreave, a telemarketing salesman, insults Honey Santana over the 'phone, she decides to punish him. Some time later, pretending that Boyd has won a trip to Florida, she lures him and his lover to her home in Florida, which she has disguised as an eco-vacation centre. From there, the three of them set out on a kayaking trip into the Thousand Island archipelago off the Florida coast. It isn't long before endless mayhem, involving Honey's ex-husband, her jilted lover, Boyd's wife's private detective, a fugitive Seminole Indian, and a cats of others, ensues.

Written with wit, this colourful novel moves at a rattling pace. This is the first Hiaasen book that I have read. I cannot wait to start reading the next one!

See also: Aliwal
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on 8 April 2007
I have read of all Hiaasens books and have enjoyed then all,but Nature Girl I am afraid to say is not good.There is none of the real fiendishly wacky characters we are used to and the plot..well there isn't one..sorry.
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VINE VOICEon 3 December 2009
This is my first Hiaasen book and I picked it up as I wanted something funny to read in the cold dark nights, and while it does have its funny moments it does not quite get to the places it should. The tourist dying on the boat trip and his ghost pursuing the luckless Seminole Sammy Tigertail is funny but the main plot seems to meander along rather than catching hold of you and dragging you along with it.

Ironic funny, yes it is, wacky funny yes it is but laugh out loud funny - no I can't remember doing that. I have some more of his books so I will give them a try as the other reviewers suggest this is not his best.
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VINE VOICEon 27 April 2008
Hiaasen fans are in for the usual heady mix of wacky characters brought together in bizarre circumstances. Here, an obnoxious telesales operator is lulled in to a trap to set him on a path of righteousness. The backdrop is the myriad of islands of Florida's 'Thousand Islands' and it's real boon to this captivating story. It's original and humourous - Hiaasen has great skill in creating witty narrative, bursting at the seams with (often misplaced) idealism. It's a very unlikely tale, but then Hiaasen pulls it off as usual. An easy going book, with plenty of interesting elements - recommended.
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If you are familiar with Carl Kiassen's earlier novels, you know that he loves to take an ordinary event that we pretty much ignore, whether it be watching someone littering or wasting resources, and propose an extremely activist reaction that sets off a series of pratfalls and dominos toppling over that create more complications. That familiar formula is employed again in Nature Girl. This time, Mr. Hiaasen takes aim at dinnertime telemarketers who are offering services and products of dubious value.

Money Santana, who hears musical static in her head even when there's no music playing, does something you wouldn't do: She actually picks up telephone calls at dinnertime. Then, if it's a telemarketer, she gives the person a hard time. When she shoves back at Boyd Shreave who's pushing undeveloped land in northern Florida, Shreave pops and makes a derogatory remark. Honey isn't going to take that kind of behavior sitting down, and she begins to plot her revenge.

Like a modern-day, slightly cracked Rosalind (from As You Like It), Honey figures out who Shreave is and lures him into coming to Florida for a "free vacation" which entails staying in her double-wide and taking kayaks out into the Everglades towards Dismal Key. Shreave brings along his lover, a fellow telemarketer named Eugenie Fonda, who is quickly bored by Shreave and the "vacation." In the background, Boyd's wife is onto him and has hired a private investigator to trail Boyd around to get compromising photographs that seem to turn his wife on.

Honey is a single mom with a single son who causes her to worry too much. She's recently lost her job due to belting her boss who gave her a top-side squeeze where he shouldn't have been squeezing. Soon, the boss has reasons to be upset after someone sends goons to work him over in a most unusual fashion. After a mix-up at the hospital, the boss has more reasons to wonder what might be coming next. Honey's son is always concerned when Honey goes on a rampage, and her ex-husband is leery of aiding and abetting these forays.

Independently, Sammy Tigertail, a half-Seminole, finds himself with a corpse on his hands and a desire to stay out of the limelight. So he heads for the Everglades to keep a low profile.

Like a chain reaction, these characters and many more collide in the Everglades in virtually nonstop action and mix-ups as allies, enemies, and strangers bump into each other and shift roles almost as frequently as most people change clothing. While there, you'll think you are back with Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream as attraction begins to work in unexpected . . . and often undesired . . . ways. A few bashes in the head (and other places) cause minds to be changed, and only one life is left pretty unaffected by all this. You'll have to read the book to see who remains constant.

Unlike his earlier books where the misbehavior that triggers a reaction seems pretty undesirable, it's hard to get worked up about telemarkers pushing real estate. That premise seems just like an excuse to get the plot going. The plot itself twists and turns beyond what's needed to be entertaining . . . and stretches quite hard to provide guffaws and belly laughs. It's as though Shakespeare wrote all of his lines for the fool.

If you need a good laugh, you'll enjoy the book. But it's not as good as the usual Carl Hiaasen novel.
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on 10 February 2007
This is the first Carl Hiassen book that I've read so I am not judging it against his previous novels. I enjoyed this book so much that I spent a whole day unable to do anything else but read it. Not only is it funny, but you really get the sense of how much the author loves the part of Florida that it is set in.

Each character was utterly individual in a beautifully absurd way - the Seminole Indian who struggles (in a muddled up bumbling way) to find himself; the silly annoying college girl; the telephone marketer who remains true to his whinging unchangeable self throughout; Honey, who is so concerned about the annoyances and injustices of what is life now that she cannot but do something to vent her annoyance and all the rest of the cast are brilliantly realised. What I particularly liked about this book is how the plot brought all these diverse characters together by ridiculous means, but Hiassen pulls it off and you wholly suspend your disbelief at the circumstances that they find themselves in. I would highly recommend this book and intend to go and buy all his other novels.
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If you are familiar with Carl Kiassen's earlier novels, you know that he loves to take an ordinary event that we pretty much ignore, whether it be watching someone littering or wasting resources, and propose an extremely activist reaction that sets off a series of pratfalls and dominos toppling over that create more complications. That familiar formula is employed again in Nature Girl. This time, Mr. Hiaasen takes aim at dinnertime telemarketers who are offering services and products of dubious value.

Money Santana, who hears musical static in her head even when there's no music playing, does something you wouldn't do: She actually picks up telephone calls at dinnertime. Then, if it's a telemarketer, she gives the person a hard time. When she shoves back at Boyd Shreave who's pushing undeveloped land in northern Florida, Shreave pops and makes a derogatory remark. Honey isn't going to take that kind of behavior sitting down, and she begins to plot her revenge.

Like a modern-day, slightly cracked Rosalind (from As You Like It), Honey figures out who Shreave is and lures him into coming to Florida for a "free vacation" which entails staying in her double-wide and taking kayaks out into the Everglades towards Dismal Key. Shreave brings along his lover, a fellow telemarketer named Eugenie Fonda, who is quickly bored by Shreave and the "vacation." In the background, Boyd's wife is onto him and has hired a private investigator to trail Boyd around to get compromising photographs that seem to turn his wife on.

Honey is a single mom with a single son who causes her to worry too much. She's recently lost her job due to belting her boss who gave her a top-side squeeze where he shouldn't have been squeezing. Soon, the boss has reasons to be upset after someone sends goons to work him over in a most unusual fashion. After a mix-up at the hospital, the boss has more reasons to wonder what might be coming next. Honey's son is always concerned when Honey goes on a rampage, and her ex-husband is leery of aiding and abetting these forays.

Independently, Sammy Tigertail, a half-Seminole, finds himself with a corpse on his hands and a desire to stay out of the limelight. So he heads for the Everglades to keep a low profile.

Like a chain reaction, these characters and many more collide in the Everglades in virtually nonstop action and mix-ups as allies, enemies, and strangers bump into each other and shift roles almost as frequently as most people change clothing. While there, you'll think you are back with Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream as attraction begins to work in unexpected . . . and often undesired . . . ways. A few bashes in the head (and other places) cause minds to be changed, and only one life is left pretty unaffected by all this. You'll have to read the book to see who remains constant.

Unlike his earlier books where the misbehavior that triggers a reaction seems pretty undesirable, it's hard to get worked up about telemarkers pushing real estate. That premise seems just like an excuse to get the plot going. The plot itself twists and turns beyond what's needed to be entertaining . . . and stretches quite hard to provide guffaws and belly laughs. It's as though Shakespeare wrote all of his lines for the fool.

If you need a good laugh, you'll enjoy the book. But it's not as good as the usual Carl Hiaasen novel.
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on 20 March 2014
Couldn't read this. The first book I bought by this guy, (Sick Puppy ??), I really loved. Then I bought two more and I read that they are supposedly FUNNY. I was so shocked. I gave away the two I bought without reading them. To Mike. Are you reading this Mike? I hope not.

Zany, yes. But 'funny'???
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