In the beginning Tom, 27, is dying in the hospital and is visited by members of his family like Bette, efficient but heartless, and her ballbroken husband Anthony. Once dead, Tom reap. pears in his own words, wafting from beyond the grave, reflecting on his curtailed experiences--his mother who didn't attend his graduation; his marriage to Melissa, an onion-sheet version of mother--prim and easily repulsed; his drift into drugs and from one worse scene to another. Until that overdose, which his mother called ""leukemia"" although actually it's another kind of bad blood--he had really been a sluttish sister's son. Dyer writes a plainspoken prose but it's hard to find any real purpose in writing a book like this except to justify its title.