This fourth from the talented Ellmann (Man or Mango?, 1998, etc.) has her usual lists, facts, wicked humor, and violent charm—but not cohesion enough to bring it all together.
Our Dot is indeed an insignificant dot in the universe. Though happily MARRIED to John Buster (she’d probably be LESS happy if she knew he wasn’t a fishermen gone to sea weeks at a time, but a philandering husband with a JOB as a school counselor and a string of girlfriends), she is beginning to question what it’s all FOR. After a quick decision that it’s all for NOUGHT, she attempts suicide (just after she hits a little boy mistaken for a traffic cone), but, as the chosen tea cozy proves an inappropriate noose, Dot lives to see another day. This extra time allows her to kill a few irritating old ladies (why, they’re EVERYWHERE!) before she finally succumbs a few years later by JUMPING off a bridge. Unfortunately, Dot is still a dot in the universe, only now it’s the underworld. Given a tour to make Dante proud, Dot is ESCORTED through the various territories by none other than Dot’s favorite TV home décor maven, Belinda Lurcher (who fixes up the place on the way through). After some bureaucratic WRANGLING, Dot is next in line for reincarnation, and, lo and behold, she enters life again as a newly born opossum. But with vivisection what it is, Dot soon finds herself AGAIN in the underworld, this time prepared to check HUMAN on the required reentry form. Her next life is far more SATISFACTORY but holds a number of surprising similarities to the last two, including an end that seems an AWFUL lot like the beginning. Dot, not existing in three-dimensions, doesn’t provide Ellmann’s wry and raunchy humor with the stable foundation it needs. Jokes, facts, keen observations—and MUCH emphasis through capitalization—are reduced to gimmicks in the presence of this ambivalent heroine.
Clever, smart—and thin.