Swamplandia! by Karen Russell
Want to experience the swamps of Florida, the poisonous snakes, murky waters and massive alligators, without getting a single mosquito bite? Then visit Swamplandia! the home of the famous Bigtree family of alligator wrestlers! Things aren’t going so well for the former main attraction of Loomis County. The Chief is acting as if nothing is wrong even though no tourists have arrived for weeks and starts crafting plans to save Swamplandia! Older brother Kiwi gets a job at their main competitor, World of Darkness, and dreams of a normal high school life. Older sister Osceola is dating a ghost she met on a wreck in the swamp. And the youngest Bigtree, twelve-year old Ava, is trying to keep Swamplandia! going by caring for their 98 ‘gators and trying to run a failing household.
This is an interesting read, by turns hilarious, haunting and heart-warming. There are moments of light in a world surrounded by darkness. This is the coming of age story of three teenagers all forced to experience the world, its pitfalls, and horrors, on their own.
Typically I don’t notice the writing style of an author, but Russell grabbed my attention. This is a beautifully crafted tale, and just for her use of words I am looking forward to wherever she takes me next.