What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is an ends-justify-the-means kind of book: The heroes, young and old, behave recklessly, often stupidly, and at times illegally, but because their intentions are good that's portrayed as admirable. Also, as the main topic is the illegal dumping of sewage, there's a fair amount of potty humor.
What's the story?
Noah and Abbey's father is in jail for sinking a casino boat that he claims has been dumping raw sewage into the waters near their home in the Florida keys. He has no proof, the owner of the boat denies it, and everyone in town thinks he's a crackpot. Their mother is going to divorce him unless he shapes up and gets his anger and impulsive behavior under control. So it's up to Noah and Abbey to prove that their father was right.
But with everyone mad at their father, hired goons guarding the refloated boat, members of local law enforcement paid off by the owner, and the owner's son beating up on Noah, getting that proof looks well-nigh impossible. That is, until Noah comes up with a plan that involves a tattooed barmaid, a stolen motorboat, and thirty-four bottles of fuschia food coloring.
Is it any good?
This is much like a Hardy Boys book with potty humor. There are holes in this plot big enough to float a casino boat through, starting with why the owner is so determined to dump his bilges, thereby polluting the beach his own son swims in, instead of pumping them into a sewer tank. He says it's because the owner is a cheapskate, but it has to cost less than his hired goons, not to mention renovating his boat and paying $10,000 in fines. But Carl Hiaasen is on a soapbox here, and logic or other points of view aren't going to get in his way -- bad guys are bad guys, for no apparent reason, and good guys can lie, steal, and vandalize, as long as their hearts are in the right place.
That's not to say that there isn't any fun to be had here. FLUSH has some aspects of a mystery and some of a caper novel, action, humor, a bit of suspense, and some interesting characters. The resolution is unlikely, and there are some whopping coincidences, but if you try not to think too hard it rolls along nicely and passes the time.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about peaceful ways to protect the environment that don't involve illegal action.
Do you think the father's actions were justified?
What other choices could he have made?