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.