cover image Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel Thing

Flaming Iguanas: An Illustrated All-Girl Road Novel Thing

Erika Lopez. Simon & Schuster, $18.99 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-684-85368-0

Joline ""Tomato"" Rodriguez, Lopez's high-energy heroine from Flaming Iguanas, returns in this sequel, a digressive stand-up routine masquerading, with qualified success, as a novel. The first half consists of excuses to let Tomato joyride her mouth on sundry topics, such as her adventures as an entrepreneur making and selling fake penises. The plot, such as it is, hinges on her girlfriend, Hooter (with the attributes you'd expect), who declares her undying fidelity while she and Tomato wait to get tested for HIV. Hooter takes this opportunity to confess being a former heroin user--and to demonstrate (by removing her partial bridge) that she has lost most of her front teeth. She has even less pleasant secrets in store, involving infidelity, and when Tomato discovers them, she plans to kidnap and drug her paramour, write something humiliating in pen on Hooter's bottom and leave her to find her way home. The plan backfires, and Tomato ends up in prison charged with murder. Lopez clearly relishes the prison scenes, using them as a springboard for Tomato's reminiscences of adolescence. Happily, Tomato is finally let go, and we can only hope she will continue to bebop inimitably around the Bay area, joyfully recounting her bad sexual experiences. Author tour. (Nov.) FYI: Erika Lopez is a cartoonist for the San Francisco Bay Times, and has illustrated the novel with her cartoons.