Moriarty's plot focuses on a girl Evelyn and her abandoned, unemployed mother, Tina, struggling through life in rural, blue-collar America, experiences love, loss, and ultimately, renewal. Complications pile up at their Kerrville, Kansas doorstep. The car breaks down, Tina becomes unemployed due to an unexpected pregnancy and morning sickness (a nasty side effect of an illicit affair), and the phrases “free lunch” and “welfare queen” hang in Evelyn's mind along with her struggles with class rival, the popular Traci Carmichael.
The novel, despite its collection of financial dilemmas, the premature birth of Sam (and his mental handicaps), depression, death, strife and emotional pain, retains an optimism.
This report prepared by Michael Engel