A Review of Fellow Finalist Rob Hiaasen’s Float Plan

Float Plan by Rob Hiaasen

My Review of Float Plan

In last week’s newsletter, I shared the incredible news that Tiger Drive has been nominated for the Benjamin Franklin Award in Popular Fiction. I’m reading the other three finalists’ books. I started with Rob Hiaasen’s Float Plan.

Before I share the synopsis and my review, you should be the first to know, I wish I knew Rob Hiaasen. His novel, Float Plan, has planted a firm author-crush from me onto him because he and I have* something in common: we both write about flawed characters who want to matter.

Float Plan Synopsis

(as borrowed from Amazon)

“When life throws you overboard, learn to float.

Will Larkin teaches algebra and has been married 2.92 years (he never rounds off). He has no children, two friends, and one dog. His life is perfectly routine until he loses his wife, job, dog, boat and even his freedom all in one spectacularly hard year.

He also didn’t plan on falling in love with vet tech named Parker Cool.

Float Plan is a contemporary novel featuring a chainsaw attack on a gazebo, a basset hound named Dean and a life-saving mozzarella stick. At its quirky, serious heart, the story is about what happens to a young man who steers himself toward love, forgiveness, and happiness. Or close enough.

Float Plan is also a love letter to Annapolis and Baltimore – and to fathers and mothers, old friends, dogs, boats and second chances.”

My Review:

Float Plan is filled with flawed characters navigating their way through marriage, friendship, dogship, heartache, declining health, parenthood, and forgiveness, and it is 100% up my alley.

I loved this book. There are so many lines in it that made me laugh out loud. And also a good handful of character choices that made me cringe. From gazebos taken down by chainsaws to purchasing a sloth, the characters said and did plenty that I’d never dream of doing, but I was so involved in the story, I thought, “But what else would they do?” Rob Hiaasen made every character utterly believable, and he made them matter to me. I was rooting for them even while I was shaking my head, laughing, and slapping my forehead.

From a craft standpoint, it’s worth sharing that Float Plan is written from the omniscient point of view. I think this is one of the hardest point of views (I always want to say ‘points of view’ but the former is correct–I think) to write well (Celeste Ng does it very well in Everything I Never Told You). With omniscient, the narrator knows every thought of every character at every given point in time. It can cause confusion, like head hopping; whose thought was that? But Rob Hiaasen writes the O-POV well. His characters are so clear, their thoughts match them perfectly.

Rob Hiaasen Baltimore Sun
Rob Hiaasen, photo by Baltimore Sun

Float Plan is also a tribute to Annapolis, Maryland, and a portion of the proceeds of this novel are being donated by his wife and publisher to Everytown for Gun Safety, because in a bittersweet twist of events, Rob Hiaasen, who spent ten years writing this novel, was a student of human behavior, and had a natural curiosity about why people make the bad choices they make, was killed in the mass shooting at Capital Gazette in June 2018. I didn’t know him and would like to think his last moments were filled with love for his family and his inherent writer’s curiosity: now, why is this person making this horrible choice?

Thanks, Rob Hiaasen, for being you.

I am so honored and humbled that my novel, Tiger Drive, is being considered a finalist by IBPA along with Rob’s Float Plan. Now, I’m off to read finalist Cathy Zane’s Better Than This and Dave Edlund’s Guarding Savage. I’ll be sharing my reviews soon.

Thanks for joining me today and mostly, thanks for being you. Let me know what you’re reading!


Author of Tiger Drive and In the Doghouse: A Couple’s Breakup from Their Dog’s Point of View

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