Book Review: Hoot


Carl Hiaasen


Random House Books

New York, NY

“Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. Somehow he has managed to remain employed, and today his column appears on most Sundays in The Herald’s opinion-and-editorial section.” (Quoted from his website  Carl was born and raised in Florida and his writings reflect his usual indignation over the exploitation of his native Florida.

A far departure from is usual weird, twisted writings, Hoot is an environmental mystery and Hiaasen’s first novel geared towards the younger audience. It would make a perfect gift for your 10-15 year old children or grandchildren.


Hoot centers around a teenage boy, Roy Eberhardt, whose family moves frequently, and recently moved to South Florida and the fictional town of Coconut Grove.  Typical for the new kid on the block, Roy is lonesome, has no real friends and longs for his home in Montana.  While riding the bus to school, two things happen that change his life forever.  First has his face smashed against the school bus window by the local bully, Dana Matherson, and during the face smashing he sees an unusual looking boy running through the streets.  These two events precipitate the meeting of tall, tough, bully-beating Beatrice and the eventual discovery of the Burrowing Owls living in the lot on the corner of East Oriole Avenue.

The adults seem to be ignoring the burrows of tiny owls that will be buried by the bulldozing equipment for the planned building of Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House. Roy’s parents explain that it surely is a shame about the owls, but the company must have filed all of the papers and received all of the necessary permits. But the owls have unlikely allies bent on saving them–three middle school kids, determined to beat the screwed-up adult system.  This book is sure to be a hoot, er hit with middle school mystery fans. (Plus it is a quick, fun read for adults too!)

*This book may be purchased locally at:  One For the Books, 3810 Del Prado Blvd, Cape Coral, FL 33904. (239) 540-2665

Beverly Saltonstall, (June 2005)

Note:  The movie, Hoot  premiered  on April 7, 2006.  The movie was filmed in Punta Gorda and Boca Grande and former CBC member Carol Keifer plays the part of a lawyer in the film. Unfortunately her section was edited out of the final movie production.

Carl Hiaasen donated the original manuscript of his book Hoot to Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife to help raise money to protect the Burrowing Owls located there.