Florida by Lauren Groff

Florida is a compelling collection of eleven short stories that weave together the hot, humid, buggy, and often dangerous aspects of the snake filled state.  From the casual surveillance of the neighborhood to alligator filled waters, each short story is filled with engrossing characters, many of which were very difficult to like.  In each story, you can almost feel the hot, humid heat raising tempers that are already dangerously high.

In one story, two little girls are left on an island during a dangerous storm.  How they land on the island is just as terrifying as the creatures hiding in the leaves.

My favorite story is first in the collection.  A tired, overworked mother walks her neighborhood to escape the stress of bedtime rituals with her sons.  Leaving her husband to deal with the boys, she prowls the neighborhood keeping watch on her neighbors and the nighttime creatures she encounters on her walks.  With each new season, the people change as much as the neighborhood. Slimmer bodies, missing trees, new babies at the pond and a nunnery closing down only to be brought back to life by a new owner, all change as much as the mother.

The stories in this collection were incredible.  I had heard many positive reviews on the many book podcasts I follow and talked the Director into ordering a copy for the Library.  I gave it three days on the shelf before I checked it out for myself and read ¾ of it on my lunch hour the same day. One thing I’ve grown to love about short story collections is that if one of the stories doesn’t suit your tastes-you skip it and move on.

Florida by Lauren Groff, is available now from Riverhead Books.  

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