Excerpt from Big Trouble by Dave Barry, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Big Trouble

by Dave Barry

Big Trouble
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 1999, 255 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2001, 255 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The day-care project was the current megaturd. It was going to explain to the readers, in five parts with fourteen color charts, that there was a crisis in day care.

"Listen, Ken," said Eliot, "There are already five people working on the_._._."

"Eliot," said Deeber, the way a parent talks to a naughty child, "you were given an assignment."

Eliot's assignment was to write a sidebar about the Haitian community's perspective on the day-care crisis. Deeber believed that every story had to have the perspective of every ethnic group. When he went through the newspaper, he didn't actually read the stories; he counted ethnic groups. He was always sending out memos like: While the story on the increase in alligator attacks on golfers was timely and informative, I think more of an effort could have been made to include the Hispanic viewpoint. The main reason why Deeber's car ignition had never been wired to a bomb is that reporters have poor do-it-yourself skills.

"I know I had an assignment," said Eliot. "But I've been working on this story about_._._."

"The pelican story?" sneered Deeber. Eliot thought Princeton must have a course in sneering, because Deeber was good at it.

"Ken," said Eliot, "it's an incredible story, and nobody else has it. There's this guy, this old Cuban guy in Key West, and he trains pelicans to_._._."

"Drop bombs," sneered Deeber. "It's the most dumb-ass thing I ever heard."

"Ken," said Eliot. "This guy is amazing. He actually tried to use a trained pelican to kill Castro. Something went wrong, maybe the bomb malfunctioned, maybe the pelican got confused, but the thing apparently blew up outside a hotel in downtown Havana, sprayed pelican parts all over a bunch of French tourists, and the Cuban government claimed that it was some kind of atmospheric_._._."

"Eliot," said Ken, "I don't think we're serving our readers with that kind of story."

"But it's true," said Eliot. He wanted to grab Deeber by his neck. "It's a great story. The guy talked to me, and he_._._."

"Eliot," said Deeber, "Do you realize how important day care is to our readers? Do you realize how many of our readers have children in day care?"

There was a pause.

"Ken," said Eliot, "do you realize how many of our readers have assholes?"

Deeber said, "I see no need to_._._."

"All of them!" shouted Eliot. "They all have assholes!"

Quite a few people in the newsroom heard that through the glass wall to Deeber's office. Heads were turning.

"Ken," said Deeber, "I'm ordering you right now to_._._."

"Let's do a series on it!" shouted Eliot. "RECTUMS IN CRISIS!" The entire newsroom heard that.

Deeber, aware that people were watching, put on his sternest expression.

"Eliot," he said. "You work for me. You do what I tell you. I gave you an assignment. If you want to keep working at this newspaper, that assignment will be done, and it will be in here" --he pointed to his computer" --"before you go home tonight."

"Fine!" said Eliot. He stood up and crossed around to Deeber's side of the desk, which caused Deeber to scoot his chair backward into his credenza, knocking over several journalism contest awards.

Eliot said: "How about I put it in there RIGHT NOW?"

Then he put his left foot through Deeber's computer screen. His foot got sort of stuck in there, so when he yanked it back out, Deeber's whole computer crashed to the floor. In the newsroom, there was a brief but hearty outbreak of applause.

Except for the time a drunk loading-dock employee drove a new $43,000 forklift into Biscayne Bay, nobody had ever been fired from the newspaper faster than Eliot. His coworkers expressed their sympathy and support; in fact, Eliot became a minor cult hero among reporters all over the country. But it was pretty clear he wasn't going to get another job in journalism, especially not in Miami, where he wanted to stay so he could be near his son, Matt, who lived with Eliot's ex-wife.

Reprinted from Big Trouble by Dave Barry by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 1999 by Dave Barry. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!