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"The Orchid Theif" By Susan Orlean

783 words - 3 pages

"In 1994, I headed down to Florida to investigate the story of John Laroche...I never imagined that I would end up spending the next two years shadowing Laroche and exploring the odd, passionate world of orchid fanatics. I certainly never imagined that I would willingly hike through the swamps of South Florida..." Susan Orlean writes about her time in Florida hunting rare orchids in this non-fiction book that takes us from an objective to a subjective view, as Orlean finds out what it means to be truly passionate about something, and feel free; The Orchid Thief. (susanorlean.com)The Orchid Thief, though, is often described as "literary non-fiction." Dictionary.com describes literary as "Versed in or fond of literature or learning1, Bookish; pedantic2." Though I agree that it is non-fiction, I don't agree with the use of the term literary. On the contrary, I think that this book is quite straight-forward. In my opinion, this book appears as "beefed-up," if you will, chronology of events of two years of a woman's life.On the matter of Orleans subjective tone; she went to Florida to "investigate," her motives purely objective, and the novel begins just so, but she finds herself slowly pulled into a world where trivial lunacy triumphs, until she captivated, not by orchids, enchanting as they are, but by an astonishing unusual way of life. Orleans goes in with and objective mind-set but her stance changes from a subjective one over the course of her time spent in Florida and with Laroche."More and more," she writes, "I felt that I was meeting people . . . who didn't at all seem part of this modern world and this moment in time--the world of petty aggravations and obligations and boundaries, a time of bored cynicism--because how they lived and what they lived for was so optimistic. They sincerely loved something, trusted in the perfectibility of some living thing, lived for a myth about themselves and the idea of adventure, were convinced that certain things were really worth dying for, believed that they could make their lives into whatever they dreamed."This is the first instance in when Orlean begins to stray from her objectivity as a journalist. She felt taken in by this strange, fantastically interesting group of people, and her primary wonder at the...

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