A relatively new book Swamplandia! was published about a year ago (March 2011) and from the cover I kind of assumed it was a young adult book. Turns out, it’s actually an adult book. Most of the book though reads as a young adult book, but a few adult themes do present themselves…but I’m getting ahead of myself.
The book is about Ossie and her sister Ava and brother Kiwi and their father Chief Bigtree and their adventures running a theme park the revolves around alligators (or as they call them Seths). The matron of the tribe, their mother Hilola Bigtree dies, before the book begins, of cancer. Of course the passing of their mother effects all the children and they all go in search of their own paths. Kiwi gets a job at the new rival amusement park to try and save money to save Swamplandia. Ava starts dating ghost and well, poor Ossie is just trying to keep the family together at Swamplandia. Through a roller coaster of events the separated family does eventually find their way back together.
The writing to this story makes for a great, easy read…and the basis of the story is truly an original. I’d give it 3 stars. Why only 3? Mainly because I feel like the book is written toward an audience of teens, except for a scene or two that are very much adult (for those who have read it…that scene on the island with the “bird man,” for example). The main character is supposedly the same age as a freshman in high school, and as much as I realize that she’s been raised on an island relatively remote from the world her voice (and her character) is so VERY nieve…kind of like it’s being written for a young audience. I just think this book is too juvenile for adults and too adult for juveniles.
I won’t say that I’m sad I read this book, however, I don’t think I would have missed out if I hadn’t of read it. So in other words, if you need an easy read and happen to see this at the library, pick it up. But save your money and don’t bother buying it.