Nov 012006
Authors: MIKE DONOVAN The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Have you ever dreamed of wasting away again in Margaritaville or having a cheeseburger in paradise? If you are familiar with Jimmy Buffett, then you know exactly what you are getting with his music: An airy, Caribbean sound that makes you wish you were sitting on the beach right next to Jimmy and his band, the Coral Reefers. Buffett’s book, “A Salty Piece of Land,” is no different.

The book centers on Tully Mars, an all-around good guy, who had too much fun one night in his home state of Wyoming and was forced to flee his evil witch of a boss, Thelma Barston.

After fleeing with his trusty horse, Mr. Twain, Mars ends up traveling across exotic locales that have for years been the center of Buffett’s songs; Belize, the Bahamas, the Gulf Coast, the Yucatan and Key West all serve as locations in the adventures of Mars and Mr. Twain.

During Mars’ travels, he comes across a 101-year-old woman named Cleopatra Highbourne. Highbourne acts like a 22-year-old who is straight out of college looking for adventure.

She is both audacious and caring toward the people around her. Eventually Highbourne takes Mars under her wing and he becomes a sort of prot/g/ to this cento- genarian. It is an unlikely pair: a cowboy who has lived his life on the run, and a woman who has had over 100 years of adventure.

A central element in the story is the various relationships that Mars has throughout his life and how they change and mold with each passing day. Mars and his horse, Mr. Twain, are inseparable. Throughout the book, Mars takes Mr. Twain with him despite the obvious transportation problems that arise with taking a horse over open water.

Despite its lengthy 450 pages, this book is not overdone. It doesn’t feel drawn out and when it’s over, you wish it wasn’t. The book almost reads as if it were an extended song from one of Buffett’s shows. As far as comparisons go, this book works well for fans of Mitch Albom’s “The Five People You Meet In Heaven,” or the movie “Big Fish.”

“Salty” is fantasy-like, yet it is written with a smart, articulate style. This is not a book for people who want to read something that will wrack their minds; instead this book is for the Jimmy Buffett inside all of us.

This is the perfect book to read on the plane for all CSU students that are flying home for Thanksgiving. The only problem is, by the end of the book, you might wish the captain would hang a right over Chicago and take the plane straight to the Caribbean to join Tully Mars and his friends.

Sports Editor and book enthusiast Mike Donovan can be reached at The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.

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