Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Literally the Best Reviews: Swamp Story

Swamp Story - Dave Barry
Simon & Schuster
320 pages

Sometimes when you read a lot of books, you just have to have a book that is a simple pleasure, even if it’s not your normal fare. Usually, I go to James Patterson because his books are almost childishly simple and give me a break from my real reading.. Today, I went with Dave Barry’s new novel, Swamp Story. I expected Barry’s novel to be in the same vein as Patterson, a simple comedy written by a comedian. I was simply wrong.

Swamp Story is an absurdist masterpiece. This was a very fun book to read. Many times, I’ve found that comedians tend to write books that are disjointed and simply a rehashing of their routines. Jimmy Buffett is a great example of this (and I love Jimmy). This is not the case with this novel. Dave Barry is wry, insightful, and funny. He puts together a coherent caper that has the ability to roll off the rails. He deftly keeps the story in sight of the rails when he does make his absurdist jumps, making it more believable, even the crazy.

Barry takes a cast of characters who have no business interacting let alone being in the same novel and waves them into a narrative that defies every expectation. This group of misfits, antagonists, and simple bystanders weaves effortlessly into an exquisite narrative that will amuse the reader and keep them turning the page. Just when you think you have things figured out, Barry sends us a curveball that somehow makes full sense despite the absurdity and seeming lack of continuity. By the end of the book, you've had a few good belly laughs and guffaws. There were a couple of times I laughed out loud while reading this book, much to the surprise of my wife, who was sleeping while I read.

Take a down on her luck single mother with an idiot for a boyfriend, a small businessman trying to keep his tourism business relevant, and the crazy state of Florida, and mix them together into chaos and mayhem….And a fair share of nosy tourists would have more video storage on their phones than they have brains. At the center of it all? A buried treasure. This is a book that must be read to be appreciated.

Swamp Story by Dave Barry may not be deep, but it is definitely fun to read. I love absurdist humor, and this book fills that bill very well. If you’re looking for a good book to read in these dreary days of winter, this might just be the perfect book for you. I hope you enjoy it.

Craig Bacon has dreamed of discovering buried treasure for years. Sometimes the best treasures are right in front of us.