Hoot, Carl Hiaasen

The book had no blurb, and the cover work is adorable. As limited as my imagination is, I seriously had no idea Hoot was about owls. How embarrassing, but I guess it was a good market strategy.

Hoot was well, forgettable. Think of Simon Cowell giving his comment on an American Idol contestant after a so-so performance, with his infamous scowl and wave of a hand. I kind of liked the book, the premise of a young kid,Roy, who was intrigued by a running boy with no shoes on while he was on the bus. Sure, the curiosity of the kid got the better of him, which led him to know more of the school bully Beatrice and his brother she calls Mullet Fingers and his advocacy to save the world of owls.

The story can be summed up by the following lines, with emphasis of the last part:

As much as Roy disliked Dana Matherson, he didn’t believe the kid was worthy of U.S. government’s attention. Dana was just a big stupid bully; the world is full of them.

And when we talk about bullies, it is not always about bullies in school, but also bullies at work. Power trippers, for those who prefer to call them with their hmm, politically correct term, I guess. What interested me in the story is how it was shown that even in the work place, where you think that you finally get some power to yourself, there is always someone with superiority over you, or sometimes got more mischief or brains over you.

We see the Roy being bullied by Dana Matherson, the quintessential big guy with not much brains, and then there was the cop being mocked by people for falling asleep on his duty, and also the foreman, bullied by his boss. Most especially, these grown-ups fall in the hands of Mullet Fingers, a kid. He had his way to put the cop and the foreman to shame by managing to deflect their power over him through his mischief of putting alligators in toilets, painting the car black, and even having poisonous snakes around the area.

It was safe to say that Mullet Fingers sure made a fool of this grown-ups.

Of course, bullying is never encouraged in kids, thus the sad portrayal of the families of Dana and Beatrice, where violence is literally and figuratively at home. I have to admit that it was bothering me at times to see how dysfunctional their families were, especially when compared to Roy’s. He had this perfect tiny family with parents who supports him, even when he had this crazy idea of helping Mullet Fingers save the owls, which means standing up to the a big guys at Mother Paula’s Pancakes and the authorities.

“Honey, sometimes you’re going to be faced with situations where the line isn’t clear  between what’s right and what’s wrong. Your heart will tell you to do one thing and your brain will tell you to do something  different. In the end, all that’s left is to look at both sides and go with your best judgment.”

Just as much fun we see the adults getting played around by a kid who is a run away, we see how the author teaches that we should always do the right thing in solving such problems. Mullet Fingers has this wicked ploy of slowing down the construction of the new pancake house, and even coming to the drastic plan of rooting himself in, along with the owls, just to show that he would not budge, along with the dozen kids who stand up for the owls, it wast Roy’s father who saved the day, going on the legal way to settling things. He went the grown up route of going through the papers and rules, yadda yadda, and of course, the good guys won.

The plot, I honestly did not enjoy that much, but I think it was partially because I suddenly feel too old while reading the story. I had the urge to hand the book to my 12 year old niece and just move on to my next book. (Maybe also because I am so thrilled to be reading Looking for Alaska next.) Le gasp! I have just become a boring adult.

The characters were fun and quirky, but nonetheless, forgettable. But I have to hand in the wit and humor in the writing. The dark humor in the characters felt like fresh air from the otherwise tense atmosphere of household problems, bullying, cleaning a reputation, and saving the world.

The acting was pretty lame and the special effects were cheesy, so Curly fast-forwarded to the end of the tape. In the final scene, the hunk college quarterback escaped from the cauldron and threw some sort of magic dust on Kimberly Lou Dixon, who turned from witch into a pretty cheerleader before collapsing into his arms. Then, as the quarterback was about to kiss her, she morphed into a dead iguana.

I bet Hoot is joy to read for kids and people who appreciate dark humor, but probably will be a bore for (just as boring) grown-ups.

Good thing Beatrice had it all figured out:

It was the most bogus thing Roy had ever seen, He couldn’t believe anyone would put on TV or in a newspaper.
“These people,” Beatrice said, “need a life.”

Cos really, life is not all about getting a good reputation and a promotion at work. Especially if can help saving the world through supporting an advocacy for characters animals as cute as this, even when in caricature:

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