I wanted to like this book. Fact is, I did like it for the first, oh, 51 pages. Then Ossie disappeared with her dead boyfriend, Ava chased after her with the old and decrepit Bird Man, and Kiwi, well, he crossed to the mainland to work with some really dumb people. For 264 more pages.
But back to those first 51 pages. In the opening line, debut novelist Karen Russell weaves a sharp, whimsical spell:
"Our mother performed in starlight."
That's Hilola Bigtree, wife and mother of the Everglades' Bigtree Tribe, who wrestles alligators daily in Swamplandia!, the family-run "Number One Gator-Themed Park and Swamp Caf