In The Thing about Florida, Tyler Gillespie faces his Florida denial and takes readers on an exuberant search for the state behind the caricatures, cutting through the media storm with curiosity and humor. His journey leads him to eclectic and unconventional Floridians who have been misrepresented in news stories. He interviews storm chasers, Civil War reenactors, cattle ranchers, drag queens, python hunters, and pet smugglers. His conversations delve into serious issues such as addiction, Florida’s racist past, and care options for the state’s LGBTQ senior citizens. With perspective and empathy derived from his background as a gay man raised Southern Baptist, Gillespie shows how important it is to understand the diversity and complexity of Florida today.
“Ripe with history, packed with fascinating information about the interior of the state, The Thing about Florida is a personal look at a profoundly misunderstood place. A necessary read.”—Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things
Tyler Gillespie, a fifth-generation Floridian, is a poet and award-winning journalist. He has written for GQ, the Guardian, the Nation, VICE, and Salon. He is the author of Florida Man: Poems and co-editor of The Awkward Phase: The Uplifting Tales of Those Weird Kids You Went to School With.