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I read Laurence Shames's books when they came out in print about twenty years ago, and I loved them then. The audio version, at least of this book, is even better. Shames is one of a very few authors who can sustain a funny book throughout its length. The cast of characters is just wonderful: Aaron Katz, the brand-new B and B owner and refugee from NYC, his increasingly deaf dad Sam, a retired mobster named Bert the Shirt, who constantly carries around an ancient, wheezing Chihuahua, two guys named Fred and Pineapple who live in a big hot dog, etc. Your villains are several Russian Mafia guys with very Russian-sounding names, including a bizarrely buffed up guy named Tarzan Abramovitz. The heroine, Sookie Sperakis, is a fully drawn woman, and the romance between Aaron and Sookie is touching and real. The setting is Key West, where anything goes. The narrator, Richard Ferrone, is spectacular. His voicing of Bert the Shirt is so funny that you listen keenly for every word. This is not great literature: that is not what Shames was shooting for. It is fun. At the time there was a group of Florida writers who were all talented and some funny: Carl Hiassen, Randy Wayne White and a few others. Shames stopped writing, I believe, when he ran out of gags. This takes courage, as a huge number of writers just keep pumping it out, long after their inspiration is gone. Get this book. You will LOL, ROFL and LYour AO. (Ask a teenager for translations if you need them.)
15 of 17 people found this review helpful
Where does Mangrove Squeeze rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
So far this year, Mangrove Squeeze ranks in the top ten. It was such a fresh 'read' from the setting (Key West) to the unique characters. The dramatic part of the book is interesting enough to create a nice little puzzle (which I like). It is the sweetness of certain characters mixed with the screwball and 'sour' characters that give this book is charm.
What other book might you compare Mangrove Squeeze to and why?
Anything by Carl Hiaasen (like Skinny Dip) or Randy Wayne White - but so much better.
What about Richard Ferrone’s performance did you like?
What a performance! Mr. Ferrone is a master of characterization, making the words come alive.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
This book made me laugh out loud.
Any additional comments?
Charming and colourful, this book is definitely worth reading.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful