The fourth wall is not so much broken as dispensed with altogether, with the various vignettes presented as if the narrator has stepped outside the story to present to readers a slideshow on particular incidents, down to dialog presented in a script format and dry run downs of quirky dates: “He immediately started complaining about how the place was a bit too ‘divey’ for his tastes, even though there was no piss all over the bathroom floors.” This clinical approach, while comic, creates distance not only between Kat and the events she’s recounting, but between readers and the story’s emotional elements, as do Serrano’s leaps into metafictional comedy— Kat describes a room full of child actors stabbing her date to death to prove that she’s the all-powerful narrator.
The appeal, here, is in Kat’s noxious encounters with Erics and how she heroically mines them for witty considerations of the absurdities women face when dating -- and even occasional catharsis. Still, readers looking for more traditional emotional release, though, will face frustration. Even Kat’s breakup with her longtime non-monogamous partner, which she describes as causing “all the feelings,” is related in dispassionate and jokey tones. In the end, 99 Erics fully embraces the ludicrous and rides it into the sunset.
Takeaway: This meta-fictional satire in which a woman dates 99 Erics will please readers who favor pointed absurdity over emotion
Great for fans of: Daniel M. Lavery’s Something That May Shock And Discredit You, Spike Milligan’s Puckoon.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B