cover image Just Desserts: A Novellelah

Just Desserts: A Novellelah

Carl Reiner / Author Phoenix Books $14.95 (136p) ISBN 978-1-59

In Reiner's dreadful newest, novelist Nat Noland embarks on an unfunny midlife misadventure that begins with his attempt to write a novel (working title: Blurbs) and ends with him addressing the United Nations. Seeking input on some ideas, Nat emails his friend Paul a few promising tidbits and impulsively-and oddly, considering he's a lifelong atheist-cc's on the email. He's shocked to receive a reply from God, who is interested in Nat's ""theory of Just Desserts,"" which suggests that bad deeds should be swiftly and visibly punished. This proves unfortunate for Paul, who is soon only able to move only by hopping ""like a friggin' pogo stick."" Before long, God is implementing more of Nat's suggestions, and things get weirder. How Nat gets to the UN (with digressions for farting and wisecracking) is baffling, and the book's final ""twist"" may make readers want to fling it across the room. It's not just bad-it's wretched.