Summary and book reviews of Big Trouble by Dave Barry

Big Trouble

by Dave Barry

Big Trouble by Dave Barry
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  • First Published:
    Sep 1999, 255 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2001, 255 pages

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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, ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

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.

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.

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

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.

Mike

I have long awaited the first novel by the hilarious weekly columnist for the Miami Herald. His columns are a weekly treat and his first book is a welcome addition to the South Florida fiction of Carl Hiassen, James Hall and Lawrence Shames. Try ...   Read More

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