(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Alice Ann claimed that her life and those of the other three focus characters in this "over the top" comic picaresque novel are "locked together in some crazy karmic conjunction." So it would seem. From the title's allusion to the desperately funny lives of Jackie Gleason's variety show, "The Honeymooners," chasing dreams with impossible schemes informs every episode.

Chuck Kinder's tale focuses on two writers, Jim Stark and Ralph Crawford ("proclaimed high and low as the American Chekhov"), who live "like bold outlaw authors on the lam from that gloomy tedium called ordinary life," and engage in a series of adventures of "high drama and hilarity" that will inform and fulfill their aspirations as writers. The women in their lives, especially Alice Ann and Lindsay endure much as a consequence. The settings for the novel include Iowa City, Iowa, where young, sometimes talented would-be writers seek writing instruction and alcoholic and sexual adventures to inform their stories. The Pacific Northwest and California, San Francisco's North Beach, and Stanford University are also settings for wild parties, endless bouts of drinking, dope-smoking, writing talk, and sometimes writing.

A moment of fame occurs for Ralph, followed by his unexpected (but hardly surprising) death from lung cancer not long after he has become "a famous writer." Taken as a whole, the novel is a broad send-up of creative writers, of schools of writing, of the popular excesses of "creative" folk, and of every on-the-road bildungsroman ever written. Kinder's style parodies the patois of the "drugged out motorcycle riding creative genius" who lives neither well nor wisely. In the end Stark and Lindsay retreat to their Eden, a nod to the American pastoral tradition, for restoration and calm.