Best. State. Ever. A Florida Man Defends His Homeland
Dave Barry (Adult Non-Fiction)
Poor Florida. A state that has become synonymous with all things weird, daft, looney, loco, nutty, and just plain one-beer-short-of-a-six-pack crazy. Don’t believe me? Just Google “Florida Man” along with your birth month and day and ten times out of ten (or REALLY close to it), a corresponding headline will pop up. For example, on my birthday, this made the headlines: “Naked Florida man breaks into home, tries on woman’s clothes, police say”. See? Well let me tell you something. Dave Barry is S-I-C-K of people wrongfully labeling his beloved state and he’s set out to defend the good name of his hometown by showing us the lighter and brighter (and not necessarily saner) side of “The Sunshine State”. So, buckle up because you’re in for an interesting and unforgettable ride!
According to Cosmopolitan magazine, women are attracted to guys with a sense of humor. If that’s the case, then Dave Barry is one of the sexiest men alive. With Best. State. Ever. A Florida Man Defends His Homeland, Barry gives us Fodor’s on laughing gas. His book contains countless (truly) laugh-out-loud moments that makes reading in public a somewhat perilous undertaking…unless you love awkward moments and getting suspicious side glances from complete strangers. Barry lovingly introduces us to real-life, overlooked treasures and he does so with the warmth, adoration, and pride as a parent would present his first-born to the world. Through wit and black and white photos, we meet Dave Shealy, operator of Skunk-Ape Research Headquarters in Ochopee; we delight in watching mermaids eat underwater (they get hungry, you know) and waving an American flag at Weeki Wachee Springs; and we get to know more than we ever thought imaginable at the Spongeorama in Tarpon Springs. Using a Florida Tourist Attraction rating system of Out-of-Order Mold-A-Matics, Barry ranks these unsung heroes on a scale from one to five (five being the BEST…and he even rates one attraction a six, but you have to read the book to discover this hidden gem) and offers valuable insights that only a native can appreciate and share.
Read Best. State. Ever. and I promise (or at least hope) that you’ll laugh, you’ll cry (from laughing), and you’ll probably Google “Florida Man” and your birthday as soon as you finish reading this review. But mostly, you’ll have fun gaining a whole new perspective and appreciation for a state that was not only known as the birthplace of the “hanging chad”, but is also chockful of anything and everything that is weird, daft, looney, loco, nutty, and just plain one-beer-short-of-a-six-pack crazy.
(Reviewer’s Note: If you love the gloriously quirky, kitschy, and sometimes tacky roadside attractions that are a part of our unique culture, then I highly recommend you continue your journey with Betsy Carter’s book entitled Swim to Me about the mermaids of Weeki Wachee. I think Dave would approve.)
*Book cover image attributed to www.penguinrandomhouse.com