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Friday, April 15, 2011

Nonna's Review: Swamplandia by Karen Russell

My Nonna (it's Italian for grandmother which is weird because her family is German) is awesome. Seriously, upon meeting her you will wish that she was your grandmother. Nonna has a purse and a candy drawer from which she freely delivers gifts to her thirteen grandchildren, of whom I am obviously the best. She's 71, hysterical, and can do the Charleston like nobody's business. She also reads books and talks to me about them.

This is what she had to say about Karen Russell's "Swamplandia"

It was very different. A little suspense in there and a tiny bit of romance, not really romance but sweet moments, even between the sisters. I thought it was well written. It was just so different that it kept my interest - after the first 20 pages or so I really got more into it and it was hard to put it down. You really didn't know what was going to happen in the end. It was one of the first books in a long time I hadn't read the end first and I couldn't figure out what was going to happen. I really liked the way it ended. It was just different; I've never read one really like it. The story was told by a twelve year old girl. I was impressed once I got into it. I really enjoyed it; it just didn't catch me right off. I would recommend it to both young adults and older adults. It's a good book for anyone who likes to read for pleasure.

I know that's piqued your interest, so here's a basic sysnopsis of the book from Goodreads:
The Bigtree alligator wrestling dynasty is in decline—think Buddenbrooks set in the Florida Everglades—and Swamplandia!, their island home and gator-wrestling theme park, is swiftly being encroached upon by a sophisticated competitor known as the World of Darkness. Ava, a resourceful but terrified twelve, must manage seventy gators and the vast, inscrutable landscape of her own grief. Her mother, Swamp landia!’s legendary headliner, has just died; her sister is having an affair with a ghost called the Dredgeman; her brother has secretly defected to the World of Darkness in a last-ditch effort to keep their sinking family afloat; and her father, Chief Bigtree, is AWOL. To save her family, Ava must journey on her own to a perilous part of the swamp called the Underworld, a harrowing odyssey from which she emerges a true heroine.


  1. Nonna and I will just have to agree to disagree. This book didn't grab me until something really wicked happened.

  2. Is 'Swamplandia!' for everyone? As a bookseller, I would have to say no. However, if you want a happy marriage between Katherine Dunn, Daniel Wallace, and Rebecca Wells (odd, but true) then this might just be the author to keep an eye on.

    Marlene Detierro (Fly Fishing for Steelhead)

  3. Each of the characters loses a part of themselves in the journey, but also discover the strength inside of them that makes survival possible.
    I like this site :: Alaska Real Estate website



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