In the immortal words of Monty Python, and now for something completely different.

I’m choosing a book or two each week from my bookshelf to recommend to you, in case you’re looking for an antidote to cabin fever.

We’ve been cooped up for a while. Maybe you’re looking for a comedic escape. Do you have a passionate love of nature? Do you also—like me—have a slightly warped sense of humor? Well, have I got the book for you! How often does a publisher’s note on the back of the title page advise, “while most events described in this book are imaginary, the dining habits of the common bovine dung beetle are authentically represented”?

Carl Hiaasen delivers gleeful rage, hilarious satire, and satisfying justice in Sick Puppy, the most hysterically funny environmental book you’ll likely ever read. His main character, Twilly Spree, is a self-appointed eco-warrior who takes it upon himself to defend the endangered toads on a Florida barrier island from the ravages of a twisted developer and his litter-bug lobbyist.

Along the way, Twilly kidnaps the only thing the lobbyist cares about other than money: a lovable black lab. I’m not giving away the story, but only helping explain the title Sick Puppy, when I tell you Twilly intends to send the dog back to the lobbyist in pieces unless the lobbyist halts the insane development plans that would destroy the island. Of course, he falls for the goofy pup, and resorts to FedExing chunks of road-kill to the clueless lobbyist.

This story is full of laugh-out-loud scenes, myriad plot twists, and unforgettable characters, most all of whom are Sick Puppies. Except for the dung beetle. Hiaasen has written many comically dark books, many with an environmental theme and all based in south Florida, but Sick Puppy is Hiaasen at his best.

If the title doesn’t give it away, please note that this is not a kid-friendly read. If someone made a movie out of this tale–and I wish they would–it would earn an R-rating. ‘Nuff said.

Good health and good reading!


Bill’s Bookshelf – “A Sand County Almanac”
Bill’s Bookshelf – “Rural Hours”
Bill’s Bookshelf – “The Raritan River: Our Landscape, Our Legacy”
Bill’s Bookshelf – “A River Runs Through It”
Bill’s Bookshelf: “H2O: Highlands to Ocean”