I generally adore Hemingway, so now that I’ve finally started reading Florida, I picked up To Have and Have Not for some Key West and on-the-water scenery.

It is an ugly book.

Filled with racial slurs and woman-abuse, mean, vile characters, and raw violence, To Have and Have Not had few redeeming qualities. I rarely despise a book, but I despised this one. There were a couple of scenes on the crossing from Key West to Cuba, under the stars and on the water, that eased the brutality somewhat, but not enough. If you want gorgeous writing about The Gulf of Mexico, read The Old Man and the Sea. It is a beautiful book. To Have and Have Not is not.

Now I’m in the mood for a good Florida-set book that incorporates sailing. Any ideas?