August 9, 2014

Avoid Hiassen's Strip Tease



I have often seen Hiassen pop up in my Amazon recommendations, but I had never read any though for whatever reason.  The work seemed compared to smart and literate men like that of Robbins or Moore, so Amazon kept telling me to check this guy out. I never did until just recently, when this book was part of a Humble Bundle collection that I bought.

I’m not sure Striptease may have been the best introduction to his work. I couldn’t figure out what I didn’t like about it until I was about halfway through.  It is the basis of the derided Demi Moore movie of the same name. In spite of the movie coming out when I was a teenage boy and therefore being part of the prime audience, I never saw the movie (ok, maybe I saw some of the scenes).  That wasn’t even the issue, though it did make me think of the book in a slightly different light. The problem is that a lot of the details are too clever by half and make the book unrealistic. For example, the main character is a stripper with a heart of gold. The only reason she dances is because she needs the money to fight for her kid. Also: The judge on the case often goes to the place where she works. The judge also is the only judge in family court history to give a child to a father who has no means of support and has several convictions but those were expunged because he works as an informant for some police officers. The father’s real means of support? He steals wheelchairs and resells them. 

It’s quite ridiculous. Then add that the main driver of the plot is an over-sexed politician... never mind that part is real. Basically it reminds me of the worst ridiculousness that can be found in the books of Chuck Palahniuk. They are the same kind of details that I thought were clever and I slipped into my undergraduate fiction. I have to give Hiassen the benefit of the doubt though. This book is 25 years old. Perhaps he got better. This book, however, is to be avoided.