Act I encompasses Doug's awareness
that he's alive, beginning of the notebook, and the construction and
(self-)destruction of the Happiness Machine. It concludes at the end of Chapter
16, with Doug and Tom discussing the fact that adults never really were
children and that there's no help for those ancient lumps of flesh whatsoever.
Act II spans chapters 17 through
37. It's all death all the time in Green Town, with Elizabeth Ramsell falling
prey to the Lonely One and Doug almost falling prey to his own terror of
mortality. If not for Mr. Jonas's magical home bottling company and Lavinia
Nebbs's mad ninja skillz with a pair of sewing scissors, things might just go
completely off the rails. ("Off the rails?" See what we did with the
trolley reference there?)
Chapters 38 through 40 comprise
Act III, and together they create the happy ending we've been hoping exists. Doug
saves Grandma's cooking, pays Mr. Jonas's kindness forward, and the Spaulding
family (minus Great-grandma) lives to see another summer.