pen rainbow

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday—The Reading Corner—Swamplandia!

A Disney World Seth
Slow As Molasses, but Interesting

SWAMPLANDIA! by Karen Russell

I'm about 15 percent of the way though this book, and I'm not sure whether I like it or not.  I've learned not to judge a book too early, though, so I'm going to keep slogging through this weird little first novel about a family-run amusement park in southern Florida.

The family calls itself the Bigtree family (a stage name), and the father is delusional, as far as I can tell.  The mom dies in the beginning, but I think she was delusional, as well.  They're all a little off, for that matter.  And, not in a fun, cute way.  More in a "Child Protective Services needs to come and help this family" kind of way.  

Before she dies of cancer, the mom is their star alligator wrestler.  She does not get chomped by a Seth—every alligator is called a "Seth." Business is booming until a Hell-themed mega-park moves into town and takes away all of their tourism.  The three teenaged kids were all home-schooled out on the island where they live, which may explain the creepy, backwoods, bayou thing they have going.  
Available on Kindle $12.99

The story has a fantasy element to it, like the 1998 novel, Big Fish, by Daniel Wallace.  I keep expecting a fun twist (heh, get it?  Alligator death roll...), but so far, it's about a bunch of semi-distrubing swamp dwellers.  I like the colorful descriptions of the marsh wildlife, but how many ways can you describe a moth?  What about the other animals?  There must be a swamp rabbit swimming around somewhere.

I'll keep reading until one of the Bigtree kids finally takes a shower.  It's been days, weeks, or possibly years since one of them has been near a bar of soap.  And, I want to know what happens to the red alligator.

This book is interesting enough to make me want to finish it.  It's campy—I like that.