author: Jeff Klinkenberg

Data: University Press of Florida, 238 pages, $24.95

Long-time Florida newspaper columnist and author Jeff Klinkenberg has produced a part-memoir, part-compilation of tales about past and present life in our fair state.

“Son of Real Florida” opens with the Klinkenberg family moving from Chicago to Miami in 1951 when Jeff was just 2 years old. His dad, who wanted to make it as a professional musician, was a pianist who once played for Liberace, but ended up running the Fontainebleau Hotel’s kitchens. As a child, Jeff and his dad had a somewhat tempestuous relationship which he details in the first chapter. Other early stories include the tragic accidental death of a friend and a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the Beatles in 1964 Miami.

The rest of the book is garnered from his work ferreting out special people (good and bad) and places (odd and not) discovered during his travels around the state. The bits on Key lime pie and stone crabs will have you heading out for some and, of course, it’s impossible to write about La Florida without dredging up a few choice denizens.

He ends with a fond look back at his career in newspapers — more than a decade at the raucous Miami News, where they kept their whiskey in the desk, and 37 years, 7 months and 27 days at the St. Petersburg Times, where they kept it in the car.

His newspaper readers miss him.

Lee Scott lives in Avondale.