Reviewed by Authentic Florida Guest Contributor, Joyce Sparrow
Jeff Klinkenberg, Tampa Bay Times cultural writer since 1977, has collected 59 of his newspaper columns into a new Florida book, Alligators in B-Flat Improbable Tales from the Files of Real Florida. Klinkenberg travels the Sunshine State to interview its most interesting Floridians. Klinkenberg calls himself “a cantankerous gray—haired bastard who can’t stop exploring, can’t stop asking questions, can’t stop telling tales tall and small about Florida, the Real Florida”.
Klinkenberg travels from the Panhandle to the Keys to find the stories. Readers learn about former burlesque queen and exotic dancer Chesty Morgan who he finds shopping at her favorite Publix. Klinkenberg interviews Sally Lewis who lives across the street from Key West’s Southern Most Point buoy at the corner of South and Whitehead for 32 years. She talks about the “constant stream of humanity” who poses for photos there. The journey continues from there. Klinkenberg interviews alligator trappers, baseball fans, photographers, beekeepers, shopkeepers, gardeners, and librarians.
Klinkenberg’s book keeps the spirit of Real Florida alive. It is assures readers that the good old Sunshine State still exists.
Joyce Sparrow writes “Florida Reads” the book review column for the Florida Library Association’s publication, Florida Libraries. She also publishes book reviews in Library Journal. Contact Joyce atReadFlorida@gmail.com.
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