I picked up this book without really looking at it because, embarrassingly enough, I thought it was written by Kathy Acker and I had been meaning to read something by her. Turns out, the book was written by a Lit professor at USC, Mr. Michael du Plessis. It is a crazy, surrealist, New Narrative trip of a read.
Kathy Acker, dead woman writer, awakens in the body of doll child JonBenet, but is more pissed that she's awoken in Boulder, CO. (Boulder is ripped a new one in this book.) The narrators are like Russian matryoshka dolls- at one point JonBenet is Kathy Acker is O from Story of O. In the (rather dramatic) process of bemoaning the disgusting carpet in her apartment, Kathy transforms into H.P. Lovecraft, and there's a Cthulhu plush toy there, too.
JonBenet answers a Craigslist personals ad and dates Little Lord Fauntleroy, a fellow doll child who listens to Japanese pop music. I seriously laughed out loud a half dozen times while reading this book.
My favorite part, hands-down, is when the Blue Fairy tells JonBenet that even if she wants to remain a doll forever, the tangle of the Real pulls at her: "right now, you're being used as a metaphor in an overblown break-up novel about Boulder, Colorado." To which JonBenet yells indignantly "I'm being used as a METAPHOR?"
There are a couple chapters that contain philosophical lectures on reality, the nature of dolls, and how late-capitalist Boulder is essentially an evil snow globe spreading mediocrity by impersonating the Real, in the same manner that Stephen King (who is a stand-in here for every Straight White Male Author regurgitating identical stories over and over, unable to accept that modernity is dead) is destroying actual authenticity by pretending to be Real. It reminded me of Dwight Macdonald's Midcult/Masscult theories, so I dug that.
One of the themes that resonated with me was that we are all 'constructed,' we are all dolls, and to be Real is the worst. Who wants to be Real? We all try to escape the Real by writing fiction, either down in pen or with our mouths at a a party.
Even though I hadn't read Acker's work before, and was too young at the time to know who JonBenet was, I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes David Lynch movies or listens to Pizicatto Five (like little Lord Fauntleroy does.) You don't have to fully "get it" to thoroughly enjoy it. Experimental literature that's actually FUN!