CLJ Reviews Skinny Dip by Carl Hiassen
What We Read
Skinny Dip is a raucous tour through the swamps, seas and suburbs of Florida. The book reads like a movie. It stars Chaz Perrone, one of the most destructive, lazy self-centred assholes in the universe. Opening act has Chaz tossing his beautiful, kind and rich wife Joey of a cruise ship as they sail through the Caribbean on their second wedding anniversary. Classy Chaz, classy. Joey doesn’t die from the fall, drown in the water or get eaten by sharks as Chaz had hoped. Instead she steels herself to torment her would-be murdering husband through a series of stunts and ruses designed to drive him crazy. What follows is several hundred pages of Shaddenfreude as poor Chaz gropes from one disaster to the next. We laugh as Chaz weeps. It’s funny times. Along the way both Joey and Chaz meet a colorful cast of Floridans who add a whole lot of spice to the adventure.
What We Did (and How We Did It)
Nothing too crazy … except for a game of jeopardy! With categories like “Lovvin”, “Fuckin with Chaz” and “Say my name, Bitch!” the CLJ answered Skinny Dip trivia like bosses. Questions were wide ranging, including: “What would be the first thing to happen to Chaz if he arrived on Commercial Drive” and “Who would be better to “Fuck with Chaz” President Obama or President George W. Bush?”
What We Thought
Generally the CLJ agreed on two things:
1) There wasn’t a lot to this book. While the trivia was fun, aside from debating to what extent Hiassen exaggerated the environmental peril of his beloved Everglades, there wasn’t to much meat to chew on. Most characters fell into pretty simple paradigms. Chaz = bad. Joey = good. Tool = bad then good. Mick = good. That doesn’t lead to a lot of back and forth in terms of character and motives nor much to discuss around themes. Hiassen makes it pretty clear that he thinks bad corrupt politicians, businessmen and farmers are ruining South Florida. He’s mad about it and believes you should be too.
2) The book is really fun. The characters will often say hilarious things and the narrative moves along at the clip of a swamp-boat. What was most surprising was that it hasn’t yet been transformed into a Hollywood picture. In fact we spend some time discussing who would play which role in this future film. If you’re ever feeling glum – a good dose of Skinny Dip will make you feel better.
As told by Kurt Heinrich
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