In the Land of Good Living: A Journey to the Heart of Florida

Knopf. Jul. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9780525521389. $26.95. trav ;.
This book from Russell (I Am Sorry To Have Raised a Timid Son) opens on three buddies trudging gingerly along a Florida highway, pulling gear and a camera in a stolen shopping cart, debating the title of their ill-advised documentary. What led to this poorly planned journey to reclaim Florida? Blame a lot of Coors and the movie trailer for Wild. This decision leads to a extraordinary tale of insane choices, the surreal feeling of Florida, and a months-long, 1,000-mile trek cross-state. The author chronicles this epic, foot-busting, 2016 quest with friends Glenn and Noah. They face a gator with only a bangstick, meet a man who believes he is Jesus at the Holy Land Experience, accidentally become shrimpers, and lose their video equipment during a hazy night of cocaine, to name a few misadventures. Beyond the bizarre, Russell delves into Florida’s history and shares roadside discussions on everything from post-traumatic stress disorder to politics. Transcripts of documentary footage as well as interviews with locals are included.
VERDICT A humorous, heartfelt tribute to the underbelly of Florida and its people. Recommended for fans of travel literature or the unusual survival story.

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