Saturday, March 1, 2008

Flush by Carl Hiaasen

Noah's father, Paine Underwood, is sitting in jail for sinking the Coral Queen, a gambling boat harbored in the Florida Keys near where the family lives. Even though the sheriff has said he may post bail and leave, he refuses, choosing to stay in jail to draw attention to the situation.

The situation? Mr. Underwood believes Dusty Muleman, owner of the Coral Queen, has been dumping his holding tank (yes, that holding tank) into the bay. The pollution floats and drifts and washes up on Thunder Beach, a local park.

While Noah's father negotiates the legal system in his less than graceful way (a jailbreak included), the Coral Queen is back in business - both the gambling and dumping business - in a matter of days. So now Noah and his sister Abbey try to nail Dusty in the act. Noah seeks out the help of Lice Peeking, a former employee on the Coral Queen. But when he mysteriously disappears, Noah and Abbey turn to his tatooed, bartending girlfriend Shelly.

They come up with a simple plan: Flush. And flush often.

The book feels like it has numerous endings. Just as you feel the book is about to finish - and a disappointing finish at that - a few loose ends of the plot are exposed and a few more threads are added, until readers are ultimately left with an ending that's neatly tied, complete with a bonus bow on top.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love that book!!! I'm doing my book report on it right now. It was a really awesome book! I just can't believe you got the whole book into a couple paragraphs.

Brian said...

Good luck on your book report. I hope you do something highly creative, worthy of an A, and are the envy of your class.

(Just kidding on the envy part.)

And it's easy getting reviews into shorter paragraphs if you leave out favorite parts. Like I didn't mention the old pirate or Abby and what she did to Bruno's arm or the green flash or what happens to the Coral Queen in the end or ... well, I've said plenty. I'll stop or my comment will be longer than the review.

Anonymous said...

I read this book prior to possibly using it as a read aloud in an elementary classroom. While the book does discuss environmental issues, I believe that it has numerous inappropriate language situations and improper coping skills of conflict.

Items that frustrated me are found on page 53 "hardass", page 106 & 107 "fist punching" to solve a problem, page 217 "hellufa", page 237 "damn", page 247 "smart ass" and eludes to exotic dancers, page 257 "kids snuck off with cigars and a twelve pack to have a smoking experience", and unfortunately, I can't find the exact page at this time but "jackass" was mentioned.

While I understand that these slogans or phrases may be eliminated in a class read aloud, I would not feel comfortable extending a copy to an elementary school student at any age and having them read it in an individual setting. Not to mention the justification I might need to explain as parents may question the content.

I have appreciated many books that have been written about on this site. I am NOT for sensoring books in our schools or libraries, however, I am somewhat frustrated that I spent $17 on this book based on a review on this site and cannot in good conscience justify reading this in my classroom.

A suggestion: if there is some questionable content or questionable language in a book that is reviewed and recommended can a disclaimer be placed in the review?

Brian said...

While I can’t argue the fact that those words and actions are in the book, I disagree with the assertion that their presence automatically disqualifies it from an elementary classroom. Characters are developed in many ways, and language is only one. Kids are smart enough to know when a character’s language doesn’t fit. Lice Peeking isn’t one to gloss over his language, even for a kid. Grandpa Bobby is described as an old pirate. Old pirates don’t describe a giant fish as a “heckuva” catch.

As to the fighting, cigars, and beer, Jasper Jr. and Bull are Noah’s main antagonists. If their worst crime was chewing gum in school, what would Noah have to worry about? And for that matter, what reason would readers have to keep reading? Jasper Jr. and Bull are bullies. Bullies don’t invite other kids to share cookies. They beat other kids up. The situation with the cigars and beer – an intended celebration aboard the Coral Queen – brings about the justice Dusty weaseled out of, the justice that Noah, Abby, and Payne wanted all along. What’s better, Jasper Jr. and Bull bring it on themselves! Their behavior is never rewarded, rather, it brings about their demise.

Mr./Ms. Anonymous, what an advantage you have over other teachers, and what a benefit to your students. You’ve read the book. You can engage students in an informed discussion about characters’ words and actions rather than fake it or simply remove the book and avoid the conversation.

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