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Book Review: The Flamingo Rising by Larry Baker by Lisa Scherer
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Book Review: The Flamingo Rising by Larry Baker
The Flamingo Rising is a fictional memoir about narrator Abraham Lee’s unusual childhood growing up in 1960s north Florida as an adopted part of the eccentric family who owned the Flamingo Drive-In Theatre. Reflecting back on his childhood, the adult Lee shares stories of his parents’ lives, his father’s successful attempt at building the tallest drive-in movie theater, his exotic and deeply troubled sister, the elder Lee’s bitter rivalry with the atheist mortician Turner West who happens to live next door, and how Lee fell instantly in love with West’s daughter Grace the first time he saw her in grade school.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Now an English professor and a politician in Iowa, Larry Baker once owned a drive-in movie theater, knocked up his high-school girlfriend, was beaten up by a motorcycle gang in Tulsa and related to Vicki Lawrence by marriage (but not all at the same time).
WHAT I LIKED:
I fell in love with this story while reading it. Baker’s characters are funny, engaging and the right mix of believable and over-the-top. His use of frequent foreshadowing created suspense and anticipation of upcoming harrowing events. I wanted to skip ahead to discover what Baker was hinting at, but at the same time I dreaded finding out.
WHAT I DISLIKED:
The Flamingo Rising was a bit of a downer. The book ends shortly after major life changes for all the characters and doesn’t take enough time to restore equilibrium for the reader.
This unusual tale could have been played as broad comedy, serious drama or odd quirkiness, but author Larry Baker wisely chose to present it as sweetly nostalgic, melancholic, and whimsically humorous. Despite the melancholy, The Flamingo Rising is compelling.
"FANGRRL" is ©2010 by Lisa Scherer. All graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.