Review: Susan Orlean’s “The Orchid Thief”

by writereaderly

susan orlean orchid thiefA non-fiction exploration of orchids, the Fakahatchee area in Florida, the history of orchid smuggling and poaching, the legal frameworks around endangered animals and plants, and plants obsessives in Florida. All interlinked topics, well researched, entertainingly laid out in Orlean’s exhuberant but just-controlled-enough style (presumably okayed by the New Yorker, since that’s her stringent home periodical), this was a good read. Orlean clearly succumbed the drug of obsession that was in the swamp mists around her in tracking these plant obsessives: a meta-obsession, if you will. Recommended.

Where it came from: Opshop
Time and manner of reading:
A couple of evenings in the armchair
Where it went: AJ
Best line of the book: “that most people in some way or another do strive for something exceptional, something to pursue, even at their peril, rather than abide an ordinary life” (pp.336-7)
Reminds me of/that: Elizabeth Gilbert’s infatuation with her hero in The Last American Man
Who I’d recommend it to:
Those after some interesting, accessible novelty facts
Also reading: Being Alive edited by Neil Astley; Life on Earth by David Attenborough

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