- Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: This is a common complaint that people have about the book. For some, the ending doesn't make all of the bad things that happened worth it. Depending on how you see it, Maria's Character Development was for better or for worse and while many see her as a sympathetic person, others are unable to like her enough by the end.
- The Woobie: Where to begin with Maria? Between how she gets pushed around by everyone, what happened with her parents, the abortion, and not being able to see her daughter... Yeah, a lot of bad things happened to this poor woman.
- Jerkass Woobie: BZ stands out as one of the most sympathetic characters in the story despite how he treats Helene. There is arguably more humanity in the chapter where he dies than there is in all of the other chapters combined.
- Values Dissonance: A few characters are shown throwing slurs around and/or expressing bigoted sentiments. This WAS the sixties, after all.
YMMV / Play It As It Lays