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Posted March 22, 2001
Fireworks Aplenty in This Feisty Coming-of-Age Story
In a sense 'The Flamingo Rising' is so good it's bad. Huh? Well, it's over-engineered. Baker is too good at his craft; too many times he foreshadows events multiple times (through his teenage persona's eyes, through his first-person-narrator adult eyes, by means of symbolism, and other devices such as irony, say), when once would have been enough. Nonetheless, the book was a good read. It's about a 1960's nuclear family who operate a massive drive-in theater along Florida's Atlantic coast south of Jacksonville. The cast of characters grows to include a Scatman Crothers-type black handyman (only he's very short); a part terrier/part wiener dog who becomes unforgiveably vicious; and a wisecracking 'Flo' type who intervenes in the author's personal life . . .hm, I'd better leave that part to you readers. Like John Grisham, the author has managed to write this novel without cuss words. He isn't a prude about it; in fact he's rather humorous. Most of the goings-on concern the interplay between the lurid but fun cinema and the staid but necessary funeral chapel next door, especially the Romeo-and-Juliet substory of the narrator and his girl. The prose style hit the right buttons: it was neither too colloquial nor too writer's workshop, if you know what I mean. Next time I hope he'll have a little more faith in his considerable craft, in which case there just might be a blockbuster in the offing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 1, 2009
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