Customer Reviews


71 Reviews
5 star:
 (19)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (12)
2 star:
 (14)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, silly and highly entertaining
Do you need a laugh? Have you been depressed, and need something to pick up your mood? Well Dave Barry can do that. The characters in this high seas farce are silly, but entertaining. The humor is non-stop. You know the outcome as you read it, but who cares? It's just a fun ride, and a quick read.
Published on Nov. 26 2003 by Paul Skinner

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Awesomely funny, but what's with the nightmarish torture?
This is a very funny but uneven book. I would've given it five stars for laugh-out-loud lines and comic situations, except for a scene of graphic torture that was so upsetting that it almost ruined the book for me. I'd still recommend the book, but not for people who are sensitive to such things. Or if you have a friend who's already read it, have them put a yellow sticky...
Published on May 6 2004 by KvH


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, May 26 2004
By 
M. McClure "damack1" (Pelham, AL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I picked up this book because I like Dave Barry's columns, and I ofen find them to be laugh-out-loud funny, even the juvenile scatological parts. I hadn't read his previous novel, but I saw this one and picked it up on the spur of the moment. I'd have to say I was disappointed.
In the first place, it was advertised as light-hearted fun. I didn't find it all that funny, and the graphic violence spoiled the momentum of what funny parts there were. Just as I was starting to chuckle at something a little amusing, something awful would happen, and I'd say to myself, "Hey, this isn't funny." (...)
In the preface, Mr. Barry mentions that he had gotten some negative feedback from his previous book about bad language. He goes on to say that the books are about bad guys, so naturally there will be bad language. Well, okay, I didn't mind the language. But I did mind the violence.
It comes down to this for me: broad comedy doesn't mix well with graphic violence. You need to make a choice about what kind of book you want to write. If you want to write a book about vicious killers, don't try to make it funny. If you're trying to write a funny book, don't write about vicious killers. It's that simple.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Awesomely funny, but what's with the nightmarish torture?, May 6 2004
By 
KvH (Ann Arbor, MI USA) - See all my reviews
This is a very funny but uneven book. I would've given it five stars for laugh-out-loud lines and comic situations, except for a scene of graphic torture that was so upsetting that it almost ruined the book for me. I'd still recommend the book, but not for people who are sensitive to such things. Or if you have a friend who's already read it, have them put a yellow sticky note on the 2 pages you need to skip. Someone meets a gruesome end; that's all you need to know. If you don't put that scene into your brain, much of the rest of the book will have you laughing or at least very amused (there are smaller bits of medium-gruesome violence, and the book would've been better without them too, but I don't think those other bits of violence will really upset most people). It's a wonderful mix of crazy characters and preposterous situations, and only the sadism mars it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great, April 19 2004
I considered 4 stars, but settled on three since Big Trouble set such a high bar. This is a very readable book, with lots of engaging fun, but I expected - like Big Trouble - a tightly orchestrated slam bang book. It's a fast, good but not great read (look at the re-sale prices). The reviews that knock the book for language and "vileness" are over-reacting. It's got nastiness, but all in context and not gratuitous. I can only hope that a movie treatment, if there is one, comes up with more riotous interaction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Clumsily written, wierdly violent, a little funny., Dec 5 2003
By 
E. Castro (Austin, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
There's no question that there were some really funny moments in Tricky Business. And, excepting some really grotesque dipcitions of torture, it's a light, easy read, which I suppose was the goal. But as much as the plot came together, the writing didn't. Barry drifts between slapstick comedy, sappy romantisism, and noir crime novel violence.
The changes in voice and style were sudden, and completely unconnected from the story. It kept me from getting lost in the story in a way that I wanted to. I was always aware that this was an effort - "Ah, Dave's trying to be funny. Ah, Dave's trying to be a serious writer. Ah, Dave's making fun of South Florida.
Not bad for a couple hours of diversion, but one could certainly do a whole lot better with an author who knew what he was trying to write.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, silly and highly entertaining, Nov. 26 2003
By 
Paul Skinner (Manassas, Virginia United States) - See all my reviews
Do you need a laugh? Have you been depressed, and need something to pick up your mood? Well Dave Barry can do that. The characters in this high seas farce are silly, but entertaining. The humor is non-stop. You know the outcome as you read it, but who cares? It's just a fun ride, and a quick read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Finally the proof Barry is human., Nov. 4 2003
By 
Harry Pujols (New York City) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The first Dave Barry book I read was "Guide to Guys." I laughed so hard I thought I was going to die.
When his first novel was published ("Big Trouble") I wasn't dissapointed either. I'd read it next to some people who tought I was going insane laughing so hard out of written text.
Then out came "Tricky Business." Barry's streak it's over.
It's not that "Business" it's not funny. But in the laugh-o-meter it doesn't come even close to Barry's previous work.
Barry, one of the most gifted writers in America today, tells us a story full of violence, sex, and profanity, which it's okay to use if, like other writers, you lack Barry's wit.
But Barry is definitively better than this. I believe "Big Trouble" was so funny because he didn't take his job as a novelist so seriously.
It's very readable, but don't expect big laughs.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars The joke is on the reader..., Aug. 27 2003
By 
Daniel L Edelen (Mt. Orab, OH USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tricky Business (Hardcover)
What is the sound of no one laughing?
Answer: the same sound as one would hear in a room wherein someone is reading Dave Barry's sophomore novel, "Tricky Business."
Good grief! Does it get more soporific than this?
After a long time avoiding fiction, soaking up facts in the nonfiction world, I returned with a vengeance hoping to bolster my own writing skills. What I have found is one pretentious, pointless, or boring read after another.
Surely Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry can save the day!
But, alas, "Tricky Business" has as much wit as a coma victim. Most thirteen year old boys have a more fully realized arsenal of funny scenarios rattling around in their bags of scatology, as well.
Writing about his favorite topic, Miami sleaze, Barry introduces us to a wasted bar band, a couple wrinkled elders acting half their age, the Mob (of course) and all their lackeys, a down-on-his-luck ship captain, a frustrated single mom working beneath her abilities as a cocktail waitress, and a surly conch, all converging on the aptly named casino boat, The Extravaganza of the Seas, during a tropical storm. There's a plot to doublecross the mobsters and, well...actually that's the only real plot. Can't really make much of any subplots worth mentioning. Sadly, the parts - which do have potential - never add up to anything. Three hundred and change pages later and you've got one giant ho-hum... and the aforementioned lack of mirth doesn't help, either.
What really disturbs me about this book is its mean spirit. Barry has a warning at the beginning about the language, since many of his readers objected to the obscenities in his previous novel, "Big Trouble." I forget which comedian told the story that his mother warned him never to work "blue", and I can tell you that Barry should have heeded that guy's mom. The profanity, adult situations, and grisly nature of "Tricky Business" just make it wearying. A humorist should know that the F-word just isn't all that funny anymore. Someone like P. J. O'Rourke can write a piece and make it totally ribald, but his choice of funnier (and cleaner) words for profanities takes his work to higher level. Barry, so clever in his column, should know this, but he abandons wisdom in favor of lowbrow mucking about. Boo.
Hopefully Barry will rebound with his next novel, but he's got to work his fiction-writing chops up a notch. The writing here is just poor: bad plotting, underdeveloped characters, and a pacing that needs a transfusion of adrenaline. When your novel isn't funny, lacks suspense, and doesn't really say anything about the human condition, it's time to get the number of a good book doctor.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A really fun book, Aug. 17 2003
This review is from: Tricky Business (Hardcover)
The Extravaganza of the Seas is the setting for this novel. It's a floating casino that goes 3 miles off the Florida coast every night. But this ship is more than a casino, it's also used to smuggle drugs into the country.
A prominent gangster quickly approaches Bobby Kemp, a small-time crook who owns the Happy Conch restaurant chain, soon after his purchase of the Extravaganza. Lou Tarant makes it very clear who is boss to Bobby who then vows to get back at him some day.
One night, tropical storm Hector is blowing heavy winds along the coast, but Bobby insists that the Extravaganza still go out that evening. We then meet a very colourful cast of characters among which are the onboard gangsters; the ship's not-so-good band; Phil and Arnie, two octogenarians who "escape" their retirement home regularly for an evening of fun and gambling; and a cocktail waitress looking to earn a decent living for her daughter. On shore, the NewsPlex Nine reporters are out and are trying to keep the public informed about this storm, but trouble seems to follow these reporters wherever they go.
The story is funny and you can't help but love the bumbling cast of characters. Having read this book, I now really want to read Dave Barry's first novel, Big Trouble.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous, July 17 2003
By 
Jared M. Thomasson (OIklahoma City, OK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Tricky Business (Hardcover)
dave barry is a genious... this was an intensely hilarious book. and the only real problem is that in the beginning seems a bit too much like big trouble.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Laugh out loud ~ you have to, June 25 2004
By 
Elsie Wilson (Aberystwyth, Cymru) - See all my reviews
Dave Barry's humour column is very spotty, in my opinion. Sometimes he is enormously funny; other times he writes as though he is straining, and unable to pass anything. That made this book all the more pleasurable, because there was nothing strained about it. Strange, yes; the characters, the plot, the whole thing. But strained? No way. It flowed like olive oil through pasta: easy, fast, smooth, and fragrant.
The plot is reminiscent of Elmore Leonard more than anything else, with twists and turns, coincidences and surprises, and lots and lots of bad guys with varying levels of brutality. The writing, however, reminded me more of Kurt Vonnegut than any other author ~ and that is a definite compliment. Barry is completely deadpan the whole way through; like Vonnegut, he never lets on that he is hilariously funny. The writing is deceptively simple, as is Vonnegut's; though in Barry's case he doesn't have quite the same underlying gloomy philosophy portrayed with simplicity.
There are a ggod number of elements of humour here: The characters ~ several of whom have to be among the most silly you've read about for a long time; the violence ~ absurd, over the top, unbelievable; the plot ~ twisted, and bizarre; the gratuitous and out of place sex ~ including an unbearable farting beauty; and the use of language, which is more under Barry's control than he often has it. Altogether, this is perhaps the funniest book i've read since "Final Arrangements", which is, again, no mean compliment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 28 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Tricky Business
Tricky Business by Dave Barry (Hardcover - Oct. 1 2002)
Used & New from: CDN$ 0.39
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews