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At this point, winter’s hung on long enough that most of us are past yeti jokes and fort building and are well into the kind of resigned stalwart ennui that fuels so much prairie CanLit. What better way to get away from the maddening drear than a comic romp through Miami? Dave Barry’s Insane City is just the thing to chase away extended-winter blahs – a hilarious comedy of errors set in a city with no filter, taken to all the ridiculous extremes the author could think of in the name of laughs and adventure. Seth Weinstein is your typical nice guy who can’t win. He went to college and did passably well, only to wind up living back in his parents’ basement tweeting PR pap for a living. When he meets gorgeous, sophisticated Tina Clark, he can’t believe his luck. He wastes no time proposing to the clever, socially conscious lawyer from a family of famous investors. Before he knows it, he and his lovable-loser friends from college arrive in Miami for the bachelor party before the beachside wedding. Of course, nothing goes as planned. Before the night’s out, Seth’s lost the Groom Posse, an orangutan has Tina’s wedding ring, and a family of Haitian refugees are camping out in his suite at the wedding hotel. Tina, meanwhile, has gone full bridezilla, and refuses to tolerate Seth’s good-natured attempts to solve the problems. I won’t give away too much more other than to tell you the author employs some very well-timed special brownies and there’s a pirate battle. Fans of Carl Hiaasen, Tom Cockey, or Bill Bryson’s more debauched material will find this book has everything they want from a winter escape novel. The characters are stock stereotypes, but that’s actually desirable in a slapstick plot this complicated. No psychology gets in the way of the laughs, and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments that will get you dubious looks on public transit or in bed next to your partner. (I snorted! Most unladylike.) It’s The Hangover for people who read, written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Winter, consider yourself pwned.
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