The tantalising opening of this novel leads us to speculate how a 'normal' American family could end up with both parents in jail for robbery and their two children made homeless orphans. This tale of transgressions and crossed boundaries, both literal and metaphorical, is a heartbreaking study of the loneliness of the outsider. It is a novel to be read slowly, to savour and re-read, to get the full impact of all its subtleties.
Because very few people do rob banks, it only makes sense that the few who do it are destined for it, no matter what they believe about themselves or how they were raised. I find it impossible not to think this way, because the sense of tragedy would otherwise be overpowering to me. Though it's an odd thing to believe about your parents - that all along they've been the kind of people criminals come from. It's like a miracle in reverse.