Posted in Book Reports by chamblee54 on September 17, 2012

PG was riding his bike one day, and found a trash pile. Being a certified member of the DeKalb Dumpster Divers, this was an opportunity. There was a collection of paperback books. The one on top had a comment on the cover… “Debra Galant does for the Mcmansions of New Jersey what Carl Hiassen did for the swamps of Florida.” You can even pronounce her last name.

Rattled is not a true story. You don’t go into court, without a lawyer, and get serious charges dismissed just by telling the truth. Especially not when the lies were told on national TV. But this is truthiness culture, where it doesn’t matter what really happened, as long as we are entertained. The spell check suggestions for truthiness are earthiness, mouthiness, and trashiness.

The acknowledgements page is usually skipped over. There are rumors of the CIA sending coded messages on this page. In Rattled, we find this on page vii: “Special thanks go to herpetologist Robert Zappalorti, who actually showed me a live timber rattlesnake and provoked it to rattle…”

Heather Peters is a tacky housewife. Her husband, Kevin, is a lawyer. He probably won’t make partner in his firm, at which point he can’t afford Heather. They are looking for a paradise in the woods, and think they found it. It is a monument to bad taste, in somewhere called Hebron Township, New Jersey. The book says this is Burlington County, and google says it is Essex County.

Two key characters are introduced early. Heather goes into the general store, where sushi has replaced fishing worms. Some old coot is sitting on a bench in front. Heather asks him for directions, and he spits tobacco juice at her. The designer footwear is not the only thing Harlan White misses.

As they are leaving the site of the new palace, some old hippie lady is leading a parade of animals across the route 381. Kevin is dreaming of a sexual reward for buying a big house, and almost runs over a duck. Clytemnestra is the favorite domestic animal of Agnes, who curses the SUV.

According to Google, NJ route 381 is between Princeton and New York City. This is the other end of the state from Burlington County. There is also Avenue New Jersey, 381, Complexo Industrial, Arujá – São Paulo, 07400-000, Brazil.

The fun starts when Harlan White is hired by Heather as a handyman. They are on the back patio when a timber rattler appears. Harlan knows snakes, and tries to get Heather to be calm. Of course, she screams bloody murder. The snake starts to rattle. Harlan throws a Ming Vase at the snake, and finishes it off with a croquet mallet.

The housing project, officially known as Galapagos Estates, was built in a wooded area that timber rattlers enjoy. The developer, Jack Barstad, got a crooked herpetologist to contribute to an enviornmental impact statement. The statement said there were no endangered species on the land. This is just one of the things Jack Barstad will have to answer for on judgement day, which might be shortly after his wife finds out about the multiple infidelities. The spell check suggestion for Barstad is Bastard. This anagram might be the origin of the name.

Agnes is a big shot at the Rolling Hills Nature Center. They have implanted tracking devices in the rattlesnakes. Agnes follows the beeping to the Peters house, and the party starts to swing. Before the night is over, both Kevin and Heather are in jail.

The fun continues for 243 pages. There are a few flaws. The girlfriend of Jack Barstad who goes to a wildlife society meeting, gets Harlan White in trouble, and disappears. Mr. Barstad hires a new companion, who plays a key role in the *climax* of the story.

PG is not an english teacher, just a slack blogger who enjoys a good story. Rattled was easy to read, and a lot of fun. The players may be cartoon characters, but they are familiar to observers of modern life. In the end, love, justice, and rehabilitation conquer all.

The book before this was Catch 22. It is praised as a classic, and does have it’s value. The problem is, sometimes the literary wonderfulness can be intimidating. PG just wants something to look at while he is eating at the pizza buffet.

Rattled,was good, dirty fun. It has a plot, and an assortment of characters. A few of the sex scenes are explicit enough to make D.H. Lawrence look like a wooden horse. It is mostly white, and any gay actors are invisibly in the closet.

Like the broadband bard said: Me? I’m a different kind of smart: I’m like an idiot savant… minus the savant part. . . Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This was written like Chuck Palahniuk.

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