Dave Barry. Funniest. Writer. Ever. Sure, he has great source material, spending his time as a columnist in southern Florida. In Best. State. Ever., Barry travels the highways and byways of this silly state and gives readers reason to love it.
Sure, Florida has become a national joke in recent years, ever since the "hanging chad." But, as Barry points out, it's not Florida's fault. It's all the immigrants from other states who can't find their way home. Like rats in a maze who can't find their way out of a box, all these migrants are flummoxed by this oddly-shaped piece of land that is surrounded by water on three sides. "They keep coming and coming, because it's warm, because it's wild, because it's weird, because whatever. People keep coming to Florida, and things keep happening here."
Playing tourist in his own state, Barry visits spots like a firing range called "The Machine Gun Experience," the "Skunk Ape" center (Florida's Bigfoot), Spongeorama, Weeki Wachee (featuring the famous mermaids), and Key West. (He certainly does not visit Disneyworld.) He provides his inimitably hilarious commentary and observations:
On alligator "wrestling"; "The gators display the same fighting spirit as a Barcalounger."
On the Machine Gun Experience: "Show me a group of individuals who are spending a Sunday afternoon entertaining themselves by using explosives to blow up, say, major appliances, and I will show you a group of males. Any females in the area will be holding their fingers in their ears and saying, 'Why?'"
On Miami: "the disorderly, haphazard, weird, sensuous, sometimes dangerous, often insane and always unpredictable place where I live."
On the Everglades, which he finds to be exceedingly dull, but in which there's always the chance of being eaten by something: "Florida: even our boring parts are exciting."
Like virtually every book I've ready by Dave Barry, Best. State. Ever. had me laughing out loud at least once per page. Before you plan your next Florida vacation, be sure to read this.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!