Fantastic Florida Fun

Fantastic Florida Fun: Timothy Louis Baker


Teens find dealing with parents often difficult. Following rules, dealing with strict guidelines many often rebel. Mark Mitchell lives life on the edge. Escaping reality by drinking, taking drugs and overusing marijuana to help him as he relates get that high or buzz in order to deal with life’s obstacles and his stepfather. One simple act of violence you might say and one final fight would cause him to leave Indiana, his mother alone with this violent man and head for the sunshine state, Florida. But, Mark’s journey is related to the reader by him every step of the way. From the minute he releases the brake until he turns the bend and drives away he describes his path to what most would say freedom. What better way then to fill up his tank, make sure he has a large supply of pot to smoke and find his way to the perfect place for pancakes. But, Mark finds something else along the way that would not only change the complexion of his journey but would change his life too. Reinventing your own life, deciding on a new direction would take Mark smack dab in the center of the drug community selling it on the streets. While traveling to Florida he picks up a young girl named Melissa Monroe and immediately develops a close relationship. Meeting her father, understanding the terms of their arrangement, and becoming more than friends with Melissa, Mark’s choice to sell hard drugs, live in her house and work for her father might be the one choice that would do more than increase his depleted bankroll. Wanting to work in the orange groves he detours to the streets selling drugs. Becoming a first rate criminal and working under the guise of a legal grove enterprise or business, Mark’s world would be filled with criminals, going around or over the law. Learning more about the author I uncovered that he too lived his life in some ways the same as his main character. Depicting himself as Mark you might say that both Timothy and Mark are telling their stories together. Selling drugs, dealing with the drug world Timothy Louis Baker is recounting Mark’s story from his own personal experiences bringing to light what happens when life deals you a difficult hand and you decide to play it the wrong way.


Mark and Melissa formed their own bond and Allan seemed to encourage their relationship. Taking Mark under his wing he learned more about his illegal businesses, buying and selling drugs, arms, the dealers and the orange groves. But, something did not add up every time he went out with Allan as one man warned him about Melissa’s past as Mark wondered about their present. Repeating the words and who said them to Allan yielded a result that would end the problem once and for all. Very protective of his daughter yet having more of a business or friend like relationship Mark began to wonder just what Allan’s hold was over Melissa.

All three would bond over smoking joints, snorting coke and shooting to get high, watching television, relating their day and the end result of their business transactions. Mark becomes immersed in Allan’s business hoping to take over some of the territory, some of his business and become rich.


Looking in the mirror Mark did not see just what he had become, how Melissa really was or Allan’s true colors. Lessons in life can be learned when trust goes too far and the end result would come crashing down on him and many others. Learning the harsh reality about Melissa and her past would help him understand more about her present. Just why did her mother leave and why did she say such harsh words to her before leaving? Why did her father create a perception of Melissa that would come back and haunt her in more ways than one? Why didn’t see realize what he was doing to her and how can he be stopped? Loyalty is a big part of what Mark learns throughout the short novel. When and if someone goes against Allan’s wishes they deeply regret it and what about against Mark? Mark learns the hidden truth about Melissa and some of her actions. Memory problems are attributed to her lack of knowledge and just who is behind it and why you will have to learn for yourself. Some relationships are wrong while others bond people together but in this novel someone goes too far and the end result will shatter one and leave another to decide on that person’s final fate. Revenge: would you call it sweet when you learn the ending?


Author Timothy Louis Baker takes the reader along with Mark on many different journeys as he leaves Indiana, does not look back, bares his soul and thoughts to both Melissa and Allan and becomes a first class drug dealer, businessman and something else too. Florida orange groves, coke dealers, marijuana, LSD and much more are just part of what all three characters relish, live on and thrive on monetarily. But, is this what Mark really wants for the rest of his life? Just what negative effects will all this bring? What would have happened if he managed to rid himself of his stepfather and remained with his mother? A story that brings many issues to light not only for Mark, the reader but for our author who along with Mark was exiled as he stated in an interview that I read, from his parent’s home and did spend time in Florida. Hitchhiking, traveling, fun in the sun, Fantastic Florida Fun: What’s Your Definition? What do you think?


When the past and the truth comes out and Mark learns what Melissa has hidden away in the recess of her mind for so long, author Timothy Louis Baker hits the reader with an ending that has one huge twist, one very large curve and definitely a major surprise. What is next for Mark and Melissa? Will they continue down the same road or will life take them in a better direction?


Loyalty, friendships, love, understand and two teens caught in the crossfire created by their parents hoping they will find their way to a different kind of freedom. This is one book that teens might learn some hard lessons from before thinking that drugs, drinking and LSD will provide the good life. One interesting very book and two characters that could definitely appear again in another short novel.

Fran Lewis: reviewer