BookBrowse has a new look! Learn more about the update here.

Reviews of Big Trouble by Dave Barry

Big Trouble by Dave Barry

Big Trouble

by Dave Barry
  • Critics' Consensus:
  • Readers' Rating:
  • First Published:
  • Sep 1, 1999
  • Paperback:
  • Jan 2001
  • Rate this book

  • Buy This Book

About This Book

Book Summary

With a wicked wit, razor-sharp observations, rich characters, and a plot with more twists than the Inland Waterway, Dave Barry makes his debut a complete and utter triumph.

In his career, Dave Barry has done just about everything--written bestselling nonfiction, won a Pulitzer Prize, seen his life turned into a television series. And now, at last, he has joined the long list of literary figures from Jane Austen to Tolstoy who have made the transition from humor columnist to novelist--and done it with a style and inventiveness that establishes that, yes, he is very good at that, too.

In the city of Coconut Grove, Florida, these things happen: A struggling adman named Eliot Arnold drives home from a meeting with the Client From Hell. His teenage son, Matt, fills a Squirtmaster 9000 for his turn at a high school game called Killer. Matt's intended victim, Jenny Herk, sits down in front of the TV with her mom for what she hopes will be a peaceful evening for once. Jenny's alcoholic and secretly embezzling stepfather, Arthur, emerges from the maid's room, angry at being rebuffed. Henry and Leonard, two hit men from New Jersey, pull up to the Herks' house for a real game of Killer, Arthur's embezzlement apparently not having been quite so secret to his employers after all. And a homeless man named Puggy settles down for the night in a treehouse just inside the Herks' yard.

In a few minutes, a chain of events that will change the lives of each and every one of them will begin, and will leave some of them wiser, some of them deader, and some of them definitely looking for a new line of work. With a wicked wit, razor-sharp observations, rich characters, and a plot with more twists than the Inland Waterway, Dave Barry makes his debut a complete and utter triumph.

From Chapter One:

Puggy had held down his job at the Jolly Jackal Bar and Grill, which did not have a grill, for almost three weeks. For Puggy, this was a personal employment record. In fact, after a career as a semiprofessional vagrant, he was seriously thinking about settling in Miami, putting down roots, maybe even finding an indoor place to sleep. Although he really liked his tree.

Puggy liked everything about Miami. He liked that it was warm. He liked that most of the police seemed tolerant of people like him --people who, merely by existing, tended to violate laws that solid citizens never even thought about, like how long you were allowed to sit in a certain place without buying something. The attitude of most of the police down here seemed to be, hey, you can sit all you want; we're just glad you're not shooting.

Puggy also liked the way, in Miami, you were always hearing people talking Spanish. This made Puggy feel like he was living in a foreign country, ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Library Journal - Kristin M. Jacobi
Humor columnist and writer Barry delights us with his first full-fledged novel....Highly recommended for those who like sophomoric silliness.

Publishers Weekly
The zany plot has more twists than the I-95 Miami airport interchange and more pratfalls than a Three Stooges comedy. Despite an occasional stiffness and tendency to strain for one-liners, the narrative moves at a breezy pace. Barry is indisputably one of the funniest humorists writing today, and his fiction debut will not disappoint a legion of fans.

Author Blurb Carl Hiaasen
Despite wealth, fame and a tendency to undermedicate himself, Dave Barry remains one of the funniest writers alive. Big Trouble is outrageously warped, cheerfully depraved--and harrowingly close to true life in Florida. This book will do for our tourism industry what Dennis Rodman did for bridal wear.

Author Blurb Elmore Leonard
The funniest book I've read in fifty years.

Reader Reviews

Rocky Mac

If you Like to Laugh
It's GREAT! For all ages, I laughed until I cried, it's hiLaRious
Justin

Not only is this book funny, it's beleivable. The idea of arms smuggling, nuclear weapons, FBI agents, beer, snakes, toads, Russians, Gzrkjistanis, New Jerseyans, Ad Executives, Journalists, Housewives, Executives, Embezzlers, Low-Life Bums, High-...   Read More
sophie

This is such a funny book. People would lookat me funny when I laughed out loud though.
Timmy O

Harmless, silly fun. This book is non-stop and full of craziness. Good stuff.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Read-Alikes

Read-Alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Big Trouble, try these:

We have 4 read-alikes for Big Trouble, but non-members are limited to two results. To see the complete list of this book's read-alikes, you need to be a member.
More books by Dave Barry
Search read-alikes
How we choose read-alikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start
discovering exceptional books!
Find Out More

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Bury Your Gays
    Bury Your Gays
    by Chuck Tingle
    Chuck Tingle, for those who don't know, is the pseudonym of an eccentric writer best known for his ...
  • Book Jacket: Blue Ruin
    Blue Ruin
    by Hari Kunzru
    Like Red Pill and White Tears, the first two novels in Hari Kunzru's loosely connected Three-...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman and a Thief
    A Gentleman and a Thief
    by Dean Jobb
    In the Roaring Twenties—an era known for its flash and glamour as well as its gangsters and ...
  • Book Jacket: Early Sobrieties
    Early Sobrieties
    by Michael Deagler
    Dennis Monk is sober now, and he expects some applause. Or at least some recognition that he's ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The 1619 Project
by Nikole Hannah-Jones
An impactful expansion of groundbreaking journalism, The 1619 Project offers a revealing vision of America's past and present.
Book Jacket
Lady Tan's Circle of Women
by Lisa See
Lisa See's latest historical novel, inspired by the true story of a woman physician from 15th-century China.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Very Long, Very Strange Life of Isaac Dahl
    by Bart Yates

    A saga spanning 12 significant days across nearly 100 years in the life of a single man.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

L T C O of the B

and be entered to win..

Win This Book
Win Smothermoss

Smothermoss by Alisa Alering

A haunting, imaginative, and twisting tale of two sisters and the menacing, unexplained forces that threaten them and their rural mountain community.

Enter