Booklist Review
Rakoff, the best-selling author of Half Empty (2010), brings his thoughtful and tender perspective on life to this wonderfully funny yet heartbreakingly sad novel-in-verse. Throughout this rhyming novel, he crosses decades, telling the great American story through memorable characters loosely linked by acts of kindness or callousness. For example, a young runaway unfairly banished from her home finds unlikely comfort with a vagabond. Each chapter serves up a slice of life's victories, discoveries, cruelties, and casualties, such as when a young man discovers sexual freedom in 1960s San Francisco only to later tend to friends ravaged by AIDS. This novel begs to be read aloud in the mode of Rakoff's frequent and popular radio appearances on NPR's This American Life. Although, sadly, we won't be hearing new works from Rakoff, who died in August 2012, fans of the award-winning author will embrace with particular appreciation this final lesson on how to accept life's blessings and blows.--Suhy, Annie Copyright 2010 Booklist