Sunshine State by Sarah Gerard

Into the Wild

Read Sunshine State Online Free - Rising literary star and Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award finalist Sarah Gerard uses her experiences growing up along Florida’s gulf coast to illuminate the struggles of modern human survival—physical, emotional, environmental—through a collection of essays exploring intimacy, addiction, obsession, religion, homelessness, and incarceration. 

With the personal insight of The Empathy Exams, the societal exposal of Nickel and Dimed, and the stylistic innovation and intensity of her own break-out debut novel Binary Star, Sarah Gerard’s Sunshine State uses the intimately personal to unearth the deep reservoirs of humanity buried in the corners of our world often hardest to face. 

In the collection’s title essay, Gerard volunteers at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a world renowned bird refuge. There she meets its founder, who once modeled with a pelican on his arm for a Dewar’s Scotch campaign but has since declined into a pit of fraud and madness. He becomes our embezzling protagonist whose tales about the birds he “rescues” never quite add up. Gerard’s personal stories are no less eerie or poignant: An essay that begins as a look at Gerard’s first relationship becomes a heart-wrenching exploration of acquaintance rape and consent. An account of intimate female friendship pivots midway through, morphing into a meditation on jealousy and class.

Sunshine State offers a unique look at Florida, a state whose economically and environmentally imperiled culture serves as a lens through which we can examine some of the most pressing issues haunting our nation.

Title : Sunshine State
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 006243487X
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 384 pages


Rachel rated it ★★★★☆

May 28, 2017

The first essay in this collection blew me away. I'm still reeling from its sharpness and hungry to reread it. From there the essays can be a mixed bag. Some are very strong, and others less so. Overall it's a solid collection with that first essay as the most notable. For those who enjoy essay c...

Rebecca rated it ★★★★☆

April 20, 2017

Gerard reflects on her growing-up years in Florida and explores the history of several organizations that have captured her imagination. Often, she moves from the personal to the general, first explaining what a certain movement means to her and then retreating into the past to provide its thorou...

Amy rated it ★★☆☆☆

April 28, 2017

I read this book because I'm also writing about place. I think it's incredibly challenging to write a researched piece while sustaining a clear, engaging personal narrative. Gerard struggles here. Some of these essays read like a dissertation. The research goes on for pages and we lose Gerard's v...

Matt rated it ★★☆☆☆

March 26, 2017

I wanted badly to like this book. I did not. Part of the problem is that it was described as a new take on the state of Florida. The writing of the first essay, BFF, was engaging and sharp, and the product of a critical mind—but it had nothing to do with Florida other than being tangentially set t...

Thomas rated it ★★★☆☆

June 25, 2017

An eclectic essay collection that touches on topics ranging from friendship to homelessness to the environment. Sarah Gerard's strongest essays, such as "BFF" and "Rabbit", explore intimate emotions like loss and jealousy with vulnerability and detail. Some of her pieces that looked outward did n...

Lolly K Dandeneau rated it ★★★★☆

March 20, 2017 my blog “Every day. Bob’s parent’s sued people- the city, other motorists, etc.- for a living.” Essays, memoir, environmental… all these things make up this collection. BFF is a fantastic choice to start the book. It’s a raw, brutal bloodletting on friendsh...

Vincent rated it ★★★★★

April 11, 2017

I had the great privilege to read this book months ago, but seeing as it's pub day and Sunshine State is officially out in the world, I'm bumping this up. I adored Sarah's debut novel Binary Star with something like religious fervor, and this collection somehow manages to more than live up to the...

Christopher rated it ★★★★☆

April 10, 2017

I wrote a review of this book for the Miami Rail. You can read it here for free:

Bailey rated it ★★★★☆

June 07, 2017

Because these are essays I didn't expect a lengthy biblio in the back - I'm always surprised when books "end early" because of it. This collection is vivid, insightful, and thought-provoking, working less as a series of personal essays and more as a series of long-form creative non-fiction journa...

Patty rated it ★★★★★

November 26, 2016

An amazing book.

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