Swamplandia! lured me into the Everglades, and I became lost in the imaginations, hopes and dreams of the main characters. Not only was it lyrical in its prose, it tricked me into believing in possibilities the way only a child can. I didn’t realize I’d been tricked until reality came rushing back at the end of the story. In other words, the author succeeded in completely immersing me in the minds of the children. So much so that even as my adult self saw danger and trouble ahead, even as I grasped the truth of what was happening, I doubted what I was seeing. Because I saw through the children’s eyes, I hoped, right up until the end, that my adult self would be wrong. Just as the swamp can prove tricky and deadly if you get lost in it, the author caught me up and blinded me to painful truths that should have been obvious but proved illusive and murky. Like the children, I felt betrayed by the adults in the story, and I was sad when the children lost their innocence. A beautifully, tragic book.
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