There are elements of this that are entirely brilliant. The writing is crisp, characters easily distinguished, realistic dialogue. The mental asylum is effectively presented as a horrible, beauracratic nightmare. The main character, an incredible bulk named Pepper, provides a great filter for the story to unfold, though the supporting characters are dazzling in their own rights and often steal the proverbial show. The only complaints I had was that there were a lot of unanswered questions (which is okay sometimes, but Lavalle seemed to go out of his way to clean up some items while leaving others completely dangling) and the ending seemed inevitable and a bit predictable, though I feel like that's quibbling. But I loved the ride in getting there and have LaValle on a short list of my favorite contemporary authors.