Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Big Bamboo by Tim Dorsey

Florida is an unusual state-- this is a fact which is made evident by the writings of Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen, and the lesser known Tim Dorsey.

Dorsey, a long time contributor to various Floridian newspapers, is quite familiar to all of Florida's various eccentricities. Dorsey's brainchild, Serge A. Storms, a frenetic, unhinged, yet imminently likable chap has graced all of Dorsey's novels either as the major character or as a major supporting character.

Using Storms, Dorsey perpetually illustrates the eccentricities that set Florida apart from other states, the over-abundance of senior citizens, Cubans, and all the various other unique characters that make Florida so... well... Florida.

While not as reknown as Barry or Hiaasen, Dorsey's brand of humor is just as thoroughly enjoyable. No one is immune to Dorsey's humorous jabs in his most recent offering-- The Big Bamboo, a hilarious send-up of the celebrity culture of Los Angeles as Serge and his perpetually drug-addled cohort, Coleman, take a trip to the City of Angels in Serge's latest pet project-- returning the film industry to Florida. In the process Serge and Coleman get themselves involved in a bizarre kidnapping scheme and find themselves being chased by the Japanese mafia and some Alabaman oil barons who worship anything and everything that has to do with SEC college football.

While the vanity, self-importance, pretension, and general atmosphere of Los Angeles are incredibly easy targets for Dorsey-- he does manage to insert plenty of amusing jabs to keep the reader chuckling throughout the book. This may not be Dorsey's best offerings, but it's certainly not his worst either and is as enjoyable as any of his other comedic offerings. All of his satirical barbs at Los Angeles do seem to find their mark despite being rather predictable and cliche.

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