ISBN: 9780701186029

Our mother performed in starlight.

Ava Bigtree lives in Swamplandia! with her family. They wrestle alligators in front of tourists for a living. Until recently Ava’s mother Hillola was the star of the show, her moonlight swim through the gator pond was always a hit with the audience. But then she got sick, and died. And Grandpa Sawtooth has been taken to the old folk’s home. Tourist numbers are down, and things are only getting worse. Chief Bigtree, Ava’s father, goes off to the mainland on a business trip looking for investors, and Ava’s older brother Kiwi has abandoned the swamp, taking a job with the arch-enemy, The World of Darkness, a more modern and lucrative amusement park. And now Ava’s sister is dating ghosts.

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The blind side

I was a bit uncertain about this film. It sounded just a bit too heart-warming, as though it’d be full of overly sentimental “and everything works out in the end” stuff that makes me think of the flawed philosophy behind stories such as The Pursuit of Happyness:””:http://www.susanhatedliterature.net/2007/01/18/the-pursuit-of-happyness/, you know the sort of victim blaming that says you wouldn’t be poor if only you tried harder.

Luckily enough this film is not like that. Okay, it has the heart-warming aspect. Heart-warming by the bucket-full. But it is told in such a way that you just can’t help but smile.