A novel of small town mid-Western America with a pool-playing heroine who has to develop a tough character in order to be strong for her mother and sister, both damaged in their different ways. The first three quarters of the book slowly unfolds, with discursive descriptions of incidental characters and events building an atmospheric picture of Cassie's life. The pace changes in the last part of the book as she seeks to find redemption in New Orleans and confront the past.
I couldn't have known, Cassie began, that Jimmy would show up there that night. In the year after he left home for good, there were a few furtive phone calls made from gas stations or rest stops. He told Cassie he wanted to come home but Barbara wouldn't let him. One call had been in the middle of the night, and Jimmy was drunk, said he had gassed up the Lincoln and was heading to New Orleans, did Cassie want to go. She did; she gathered a few things, wrote a note to Laura, and waited on the porch the rest of the night. He never showed.