Insane City—Dave Barry


“Any man fleeing from the police with three women, two children, and an orangutan is a friend of mine.” (298)

This is yet another of my Early Reviewers books, from the November batch. I was particularly excited about this one because it was written by an author that I am quite familiar with: Dave Barry. While most of the books that I’ve gotten through the Early Reviewers program have been good reads, essentially all of them have been by authors I had never heard of before. I’ve actually read a good bit of Dave Barry books, starting when some guy friends in high school introduced our group of friends to Dave Barry’s Guide to Guys. And as a lifelong lover of all things Peter Pan, I loved Barry’s collaborative writing with Ridley Pearson about the early days of Peter.

Anyway, as it is widely publicized, this is the first book individually authored by Dave Barry in over ten years. What a great return. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider it a mystery (one of the reviews on the back of my review copy states that it is…), I think it’s a great adventure. Taking place across the span of three days, the events begin with Seth going to Miami for his wedding to rich girl Tina Clark. He’s traveling with his three friends: best man Marty, Big Steve, and Kevin. While out for his bachelor party a few days before the actual event, the four men meet Duane, his pet snake Blossom, and hot bod contest participant Cyndi. They get drunk, and hilarious – and unpredictable - hijinks ensue.

While there were a few things that were pretty clear from the beginning (who ends up with who, the very Hangover-style shenanigans) for the most part the story kept me on my toes. I mean, how could I have predicted that the orangutan would fall in love with Cyndi and knock out three bouncers in order to protect her as his mate? I found myself laughing out loud several times, which is the sign of a really good adventure comedy. I wanted to smack Tina in the face throughout the entirety of the book, which I imagine is part of the function of her character. Other than her, really, the characters are all extremely likeable, or at the very least have redeeming qualities. I also appreciated the efficient use of the epilogue, in a very un-lazy fashion (not true of all epilogues), tying up the loose ends following the crazy storyline of events prior.

I received an uncorrected proof, so I’m going to imagine that most of the small mistakes that I noticed are fixed in the final version. There was a page that referenced Tina’s father, Mike, and then was clearly talking about things that his character was doing, but incorrectly had him called Steve. Kind of strange, but I figured it out, so in the long run not horrible.

A great read, and one that I probably would’ve gotten from the library or purchased myself in order to enjoy, which makes me feel like even more of a winner. I would definitely recommend this one to any adult (in no way is this book appropriate for children) who is looking for a good, light-hearted romp through the streets of Miami.

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