Thursday, March 24, 2011
Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen
Hoot is a coming-of-age story about a young man named Roy who decides to take a stand for something. This seemingly simplistic tale is much more developed than I would've thought just from reading the summary. The summary talks about bullying, Florida, owls and a boy, but this story is much more than that and those words only penetrate the surface of this book. Roy's personal growth reflects the growth in each and every one of us and it was wonderful to read about his navigation through those difficult teenage years when you learn to pick your battles. I was first interested in this book because of the obvious reference to owls (and who doesn't appreciate those adorable creatures?), but there is so much more to love about this story than just those fuzzy little birds. This book is also about friendship in all its different forms. It's about standing up for yourself, no matter the risk. It's about learning to "settle the argument between [your] heart and [your] brain." And it's about figuring out where your home really is, whether it's a new place you're uncomfortable in or even somewhere besides your own house. I really loved this book and there was even a tear in my eye at one point. I didn't think I would become so emotionally involved in this boy's story or so concerned about the plight of tiny burrowing owls, but Carl Hiaasen really knows how to pull at your heart strings. Hoot alternates perspectives throughout the book as well so the reader can follow the journey of bumbling rookie Officer David Delinko and the constantly worried foreman named Curly, as they try and figure out who is responsible for all the pranks and vandalism at the construction site of Mother Paula's All-American House of Pancakes. I loved the characters in this book as well, I felt like they were so different from one another and I, too, was intrigued by the presence of a barefoot boy running through the chapters just like Roy was intrigued by the presence of a barefoot boy running through the streets. There are so many layers of this story to peel back, I'm surprised Carl Hiaasen was able to tie up all the loose ends in less than 200 pages (NookColor page count), but he did and I definitely liked this book more than I thought I would before reading it. I would recommend Hoot to anyone who likes adventure/survival, coming-of-age, the male perspective and anyone who loves animals, nature or politics.
Favorite things: the Floridian setting, the barefoot boy (whose name is a secret), the tiny fuzzy owls and the relatable themes of standing up for yourself and standing up for something you believe in.
Criticisms: the summary of this book doesn't do it justice and should've been reworked so less people would miss out on this fantastic story.
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars! This is definitely the kind of book I would like to read again and share with family.