Some pretty strange ingredients can work surprisingly harmoniously together in the right recipe, while other bold experiments merely curdle. With 1 part Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, 1 part Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, and 1 part Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [in that order, no less], this daring novel bumps and jars. It doesn’t help that the transitions are hypersexualized poop, fart and masturbation jokes and 3 Stooges antics.
The tale opens on protagonist preteen Lacy Dawn. She and her battered mother live in tense fear of the daily beatings from Lacy’s Gulf War PTSD-shocked father. The family dog, Brownie, cowers under the porch to escape its share of the switchings. Lacy is well aware that her father rapes her mother, and that her best friend, Faith, is raped by Faith’s father–that is up until he kills her. Lacy’s only bright spots are school where she’s a top student, the woods where all the trees listen to her troubles and offer their advice, and DotCom, her naked android alien boyfriend that lives in a spaceship in a cave in the hollow and was sent to Earth to protect her. And the genres have shifted . . .
DotCom manages to cure the parents of their neuroses and inadequacies between 2 chapters and a year gap in the plot. Fallout from the prior situation remains unresolved and without consequence or mention for the rest of the book as most characters become obsessed with sex, sex, poop, masturbation, and sex. DotCom and Lacy learn about each other’s worlds more closely as the former goes Pinocchio and discovers his inner carbon-based life form, while the latter travels out into space to learn that the universe economics are controlled by a planet-wide Mega-Mall that analyzes the worth and credit scores of ascendant races by their success in marketplace game stats.
DotCom and Lacy’s characters transition between the sections and tones less than smoothly. The parents might as well be new characters for all the discontinuity between the beginning and ending of the tale. The social satire of the end of the novel skips the first half of the book. While the critical eye toward social and economic inequality at the beginning receives serious treatment, until its not. Perhaps this should be two novels, set not in the same series or universe.