In this disturbing, autobiographical first novel, College, the otherwise unnamed narrator, leaves his middle-class life in Boston, looking for adventure and finding it with Gary and Cassandra. They welcome College to their life of petty thievery and selling sex to support their heroin habit in 1970s Venice Beach, California. College cannot bring himself to leave this drug-infested hell until he begins to feel responsible for Maria, a 13-year-old girl who moves in with the trio. Although the novel is graphic in its descriptions of the life of drug addicts, Plesko never resorts to sensationalism or hyperbole. As the reader begins to understand College's past and how the loss of his parents in the Hungarian revolution in 1956 affected him, the book takes on a deeper meaning.