- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (July 6 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0425239470
- ISBN-13: 978-0425239476
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 113 g
- Average Customer Review: 274 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #110,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Big Trouble Paperback – Jul 6 2010
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About the Author
Dave Barry is a humor columnist. For 25 years he was a syndicated columnist whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Many people are still trying to figure out how this happened.
Dave has also written a total of 25 books, although virtually none of them contain useful information. Two of his books were used as the basis for the CBS TV sitcom "Dave's World," in which Harry Anderson played a much taller version of Dave.
Dave plays lead guitar in a literary rock band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, whose other members include Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson and Mitch Albom. They are not musically skilled, but they are extremely loud. Dave has also made many TV appearances, including one on the David Letterman show where he proved that it is possible to set fire to a pair of men's underpants with a Barbie doll.
In his spare time, Dave is a candidate for president of the United States. If elected, his highest priority will be to seek the death penalty for whoever is responsible for making Americans install low-flow toilets.
Dave lives in Miami, Florida, with his wife, Michelle, a sportswriter. He has a son, Rob, and a daughter, Sophie, neither of whom thinks he's funny.
Top customer reviews
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Anyway, it's very funny. No one can or should be able to make the reader howl on every single page, but "Big Trouble" does a fine job of entertaining. If you've seen the movie (worth checking out) it's very loyal to the book: same characters and most of the funniest situations are kept in.
Plot: Roughly eight to 12 characters wind up interacting in a kind of convoluted manner to describe well here - a pair of teens playing "Killer" with a water pistol wind up inadvertenly messing up a hit man's plan to kill the dad of one of their classmates - whose maid winds up falling in love with the narrator - a homeless man called Puggy. Meanwhile the target of the hitman winds up facedown in a bowl of dog chow squirted by a poisonous toad having hallucinations that involve Martha Stewart. Eventually, the dad of one of the teens winds up hijacking a plane - which finally wins his son's respect. A bomb which passes with impunity through an airport check is finally diffused and - well, why not read the rest? I promise it's funnier than just a brief description here can make it.
While there are some amusing pieces in here, they are scattered like oases in the vast desert. It is incredibly lame, predictable, and dull. The characters would have to expand to be one-dimensional, and there are too many of them to even make much of an impression. It begins to feel like the Keystone Kops after a while, one zany, wild and spectacularly unamusing event after another. Improbable coincidences and silly plot twists heap up like ants on a grasshopper carcass.
Thankfully the book is very brief. Though there are over 300 pages, those pages look like many twenty-page college term papers, with wide margins, broad line-spacing, and large type.
I have been reading Dave Barry since he began writing back in Pittsburgh. I've read millions of his columns. The man is funny. But a funny man does not necessarily equal a funny novel. This is not funny. Not well-plotted. Not suspenseful. Not clever. Not witty. Not sparkling. Not interesting. Not amusing. Not fun. Not surprising. Not well-written. Not worth the money.
The story takes place in Miami, following the intertwined lives of many lowlife crudballs, teenagers, and ordinary businessmen. Oh--there's also an unpronounceable European country that is giving one one of the characters a nuclear bomb, which is promptly... oh, never mind. This plot is remarkably complex, much more complex than I expected Barry's book to be, and it's too complex for me to summarize properly.
Those who are expecting a novelized composite of Barry's columns will be disappointed. Oh, there are DEFINITELY tangs of those columns, such as the stupid dog and hallucinagenic toad. Some of the situations are so ludicrous ("It's a SQUIRT gun!") that you'll roar with laughter. And Barry does an admirable job of tying up loose ends, making for a compact and enjoyable novel.
And there's remarkably clean "trooluv." The only real sexiness is a lascivious henchman, and the rest is shy teenagers, middle-aged divorcees, and a lovable homeless man who meets the woman of his dreams. However, you shouldn't let your kiddies (as Barry warns in the first part) read this book, as it has some sexual references and many bad words. (Ought to be okay for the average teen, though)
This book isn't particularly deep or original, but it's written with a funny spin that makes it the best book I've read this summer. It'd make a better-than-usual comedy movie! For Barry fans, this is a MUST-READ!
Like Hiaasen's books, Dave has selected whacky Miami as the location for 'Big Trouble'. And following Hiaasen's formula Barry has also centered his story on befuddled middle-income/rich folks who get embroiled in nasty business and sleazily funny criminals. The actual story in 'Big Trouble' is too silly to describe; it's just a zany slapstick romp through the Miami suburbs
However Dave Barry is not exactly another Carl Hiaasen. 'Big Trouble' is not especially well-written. Although hardly fine literature, at least Hiaasen's prose can be considered as very competent. Dave Barry's work seems very thin by comparison. Yet unlike Hiaasen, Barry doesn't blather on about the ecology and rotten tourists, and so his book is a pure comic read without any hidden social agenda. However Hiaasen is better when it comes to brutally satiric humor (..Barry's humor is just goofy).
Bottom line: pure silliness. Irresistable fluff.
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