The tone of this novel is unstable, shifting with the narrator and the events being narrated. John's tone is often humorous, especially when he relates one of his misdemeanors:
Did you ever hear a herd of buffalo stampeding? Thirty-four scrawny, undernourished apples rolling up the aisles sound just like a herd of buffalo stampeding. (1)
John's tone, especially toward the end, can also be sincere. Describing Lorraine, he says, "She lifted her glass, and she was lovely" (11).
As a narrator, Lorraine is usually straightforward and sincere, but she can also come up with inventive descriptions:
Norton has eyes like a mean mouse, and he's the type of kid who thinks everyone's trying to throw rusty beer cans at him. (4)