Book Review: Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen

I hated this book. This book depressed me. This book made me angry. This book is very well done! Sick Puppy’s main character, Twilly, try’s to re-educate environmentally inconsiderate people by teaching them hard lessons. His latest target, the man in the Range Rover that threw his fast food wrappers and garbage out the window, just doesn’t get the message, though. Not the first message, or the second, or the third. As it turns out, this slob is a very dangerous, connected, and politically powerful man. As Twilly terrorizes him in escalating ways, he also finds out that this man is a major player in a plan to build up a virtually untouched island with hotels, malls, and condos. Now Twilly gets serious.

What I hated, more than the destruction of the environment for money, was the fact that this clown just didn’t get the message about littering. This is so true and typical about people, and it has always bothered me. Seeing it in writing was somehow maddening, though. I so wanted this man to understand how unnecessary and wrong his actions were, but he never gets it. 

Sick Puppy is an accurate portrayal of slobs that will never change, but it is also a highly entertaining book. I will certainly be trying more of Carl Hiaasen’s books.

Beyond the book...

How many of us have seen, in the parking lot of fast food restaurants, bags of garbage on the painted white lines.  This is garbage from someone sitting in their car eating, opening the door when they are done, and setting their bag full of trash on the ground next to the car.  Have you ever noticed how many garbage cans are in those parking lots?  Plenty!  The decent thing to do, if it was ever even considered, was outweighed by the effort of taking 20 steps maximum to one of the garbage cans.  This is pretty disgusting.

I have my plan if I ever catch one of these lazy pigs doing this.  I run up and grab the trash and say, “Sir/Miss, you dropped this... don’t drive off without it.”  I’ve only used it once so far.  Any more, I don’t eat at fast food restaurants more than a couple times a year, so I don’t expect many more chances. I did do a similar thing in the airport, however.  How many garbage cans are in the airport terminals? Plenty!  This lady finishes eating her food and leaves the bag of trash on the seat next to her. I get up, grab it, pass a garbage can on my way to catch her, and say, “Excuse me, you forgot this on the seat back there, and you almost got on your plane without it.” The key is to say it so they hear what you don’t say, which is, “...because I KNOW you wouldn’t litter.”

How about the people who don’t take their shopping carts to the corral? I have gotten in some pretty heated verbal battles with lazy people that do this. It is amazing that, even when you point it out nicely, people can ignore you or lash out. From now on, whenever possible, I will either stop behind their car before they can back out, or I will tip a cart over behind their car. It is such a small effort to put these things back, and it is so horrible for me to think my cart may roll away and damage someone’s car.



Tue, 06/10/2008 - 11:32am

Pat - it's so funny you mention this. I have not read the book, but your review has made me want to!

When I first knew Brad he was a terrible litterbug. He used to throw soda cans and cups out of the window of the moving car. He's just toss stuff onto the ground when walking down the street. I used to really get on him about this. He would say, "what does it matter? One can isn't going to make a difference." I would always say, "well if EVERYONE thought like that, think about what a mess things would be!"

Over the years Brad really changed and he became one of the most vocal people I knew about caring for the environment and he would do things like you do to get people to pick up after themselves. In addition, I laughed at your comments about shopping carts. A few of Brad's neighbors would use shopping carts to push their stuff back to his apartment complex and this drove him CRAZY!! He would rant and rave about people being lazy.

Brad LOVED Carl Hiassen books and spoke of them often. That and Elmore Leonard. I have never read either author - I will put some on my library list....and I will certainly check out Sick Puppy. Thanks for the review!

One of the last books I lent him - Water For Elephants - is one he really enjoyed. Also Geek Love was one of his favorites. I don't think I saw that on the list. He loved fiction about the circus and circus freaks.

Tue, 06/10/2008 - 7:29pm

I read Geek Love!  That was the lobster claw boy, right?  It didn't really move me, though.  I could tell it was a dark, odd story, but it may not have been the right time for me to read it.  Melissa loved it, and she was the one who suggested it.

Wed, 06/11/2008 - 9:18am

I read Geek Love about 7 years ago.    Love it!

The imagery and characters were bizarrely believable.  

But the story line I liked best was how he became a cult leader.    - Very much like many cult and established religions, the followers, for reasons even they don't know, decided to worship him, and then create rituals to be more like him. - or feel closer to him.

It only takes a brief study of religous history to see that many of the  religous rituals are created by men, rather than as a decree from God.  Some come about for obvious political reasons (the Anglican Church because some King wanted a divorce)  and some from legitimate spiritual feelings.  (rosaries and walking paths as aids to meditation).

Although dark, I thought it was a great insight into human nature and our continual search for spirituality.

Thu, 06/12/2008 - 3:46pm

According to Wikipedia:

"Though no filmed version is finished yet, it is rumored that director Tim Burton wants to eventually sign on with the project. In November 2004, the website Dreams announced that director Terry Gilliam was interested in doing a film adaptation of the book, in August 2006, he revealed after a screening of his latest film Tideland, that he and Johnny Depp are big fans of the book and they are both keen on doing a film, but Gilliam knows he probably won't get the money for it, because of the book's content.

Recently SensurroundStagings in Atlanta produced a well received stage adaptation of Geek Love. This adaptation was reprised in Atlanta for Summer 2004 and then taken to the New York Fringe Festival later that year."

Tim Burton/Johnny Depp doing Geek Love!!!!!!! How perfect would that be!



Wed, 06/11/2008 - 2:52pm

I just finished a book called "The Joy of Sects," which had most of the world's wacky religions and cults spelled out.  It told how they started, what they believe in, how many members, when, etc.

Pretty good, and went hand-in-hand with the books from Brad's collection that I started with.