This is ostensibly a series of short stories, but because of the common theme and character of the narrator J.T. Glass, it feels much more like a novel. The reader is led through a series of situations J.T. finds himself in --- sometimes from childhood, sometimes adolescence, and sometimes adulthood --- and sees those situations through J.T.'s eyes. Those eyes are ironic, intelligent, and full of humor about things that would otherwise be impossible to cope with.
Reading this book is something of an emotional adventure. The situations are so shocking, and so varied, that there's never a point at which you can guess what's coming next. But the heart of the book --- the tone which is maintained throughout --- is kind enough that the ride can be endured, and is worth going on.
Oh, and most importantly. This book is written with an artist's eye (a fact which is hinted at in the very first story). Phrases are used symmetrically, popping up meaning one thing at one moment, and something much richer at another. The language, the pacing, and the mood are all established carefully.
If you ignore the attention poured into it, the end result is a book which reads smoothly and easily. If you care to, though, it's also a book worth studying.