I really liked this book. I liked reading Cal's family history and felt that it really tied the story together. I know that some people just want to cut to the chase and find out what is going on with Cal, but I thought that the story wouldn't have been the same without the stories of Desedemona, Lefty, Jimmy Zizmo and Sourmelina. These characters shaped Cal in both biological and cultural ways that really added to the story line. Without these characters and their history, you only get a one-dimensional picture of Cal's life with Milton, Tessie and Chapter Eleven. They add a lot of depth to Cal's world.