Jump into the wacky, wild world of Florida
“These stories . . . focus on people, a cross section of Floridians closely observed and written about with humor and empathy. . . . The State You’re In is a smart, entertaining and sometimes surprising look at a place that can make our blood boil one minute and enchant us the next.”—Tampa Bay Times
“A variety of diverse, interesting Sunshine State tales. . . . [Pittman] will make you laugh with some stories and leave you wondering about how such a thing could happen in others.”—Tampa Bay Magazine
“[A] romp of an anthology. . . . A quirky, considered meditation of Florida’s absurdities, from its wildlife to its people.”—Flamingo
“Spanning thirty years of extraordinary reporting, The State You’re In is a celebration of Florida and its most versatile writer—pee-your-pants funny in one chapter and utterly humane in the next. Craig Pittman is Florida’s own Mark Twain.”—Cynthia Barnett, author of Mirage; Blue Revolution; and Rain: A Natural and Cultural History
“The State You’re In is pure Pittman, who has earned his reputation as one of the most astute observers of Florida. The book is a combination love story and divorce trial of a writer cursing the state he loved but realizing the magic and romance that first captivated him.”—Gary R. Mormino, author of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida
“Pittman has alligator-wrestled some of Florida’s wackiest occurrences and managed to pin them to the page with his usual wit, charm, and knack for making the outlandish seem like just another day in the sunshine. There truly is no state like Florida, and no one writes about Florida like Craig Pittman.”—Steph Post, author of Holding Smoke
“From panthers to the BP oil spill, Pittman has covered a breathtaking range of stories in his long career. This collection portrays the weird and the wild, the sad and the surprising, with an unflinching yet loving touch. Pittman humanizes Florida, explains it, even translates it, for those who both love and loathe the state.”—Tara Lush, author of Grounds for Murder
“Pittman is that rare breed of writer who not only makes us laugh but also makes us think. His storytelling often highlights the shady side of the Sunshine State, but it is clearly informed by a deep appreciation for Florida’s history and culture.”—Janine Farver, former executive director, Florida Humanities Council
For more than 30 years, investigative journalist and New York Times bestselling author Craig Pittman has chronicled the wildest stories Florida has to offer. Featuring a selection of columns that have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times and other outlets throughout Pittman’s career, this book highlights just how strange and wonderful Florida can be.
With a folksy style, an eye for the absurd, and a passion for the history and environment of his home state, Pittman describes some of Florida’s oddest wildlife as well as its quirkiest people. The State You’re In includes a love story involving the most tattooed woman in the world, a deep dive into the state’s professional mermaid industry, and an investigation of a battle between residents of a nudist resort and the U.S. Postal Service. Pittman introduces readers to a who’s who of Florida crime fiction, a what’s what of exotic animals, and an array of beloved places he’s seen change rapidly in his lifetime.
Many of these stories are funny, some are serious, and several offer rare insights into the heart of the Sunshine State. For Pittman, Florida is both inspiring and dangerous—an “evolutionary test” for those who live in it. Together these pieces paint a complex picture of a fascinating state longing for an identity beyond palm trees and punchlines.
Craig Pittman is a native Floridian and an award-winning journalist. He wrote for the Tampa Bay Times for 30 years and now writes for the Florida Phoenix. He is the author of several books, including the New York Times bestseller Oh, Florida!: How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country; Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther; and The Scent of Scandal: Greed, Betrayal, and the World’s Most Beautiful Orchid. He is cohost of the Welcome to Florida podcast. Pittman was named a Florida Literary Legend by the Florida Heritage Book Festival in 2020.
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