From the author of Family Trappings (1985), a charming comic portrait of a hapless Southern girl trying to make her way in the world. In 1963, Scarlett Greene, 18, is a fat girl with a mission--she simple must get out of dismal Boyceville, Georgia, and away from her awful parents (a couple of transplanted Northerners who have gone completely to: seed in the South). She finally wangles an invitation to stay with her grandfather in Madison, Wisconsin, and go to the university there, and she even loses 40 pounds by running in place in the backyard under the sprinkler. But her troubles are just beginning--her grandfather, though fond of her, is a genuinely miserly old man who reads pornography on the sly and likes to slip into Scarlett's room at night to ""check"" on her. And the increasingly sex-starved Scarlett can't get a date to save her life--that is, until she meets fellow pre-med student Donald, a priggish, mother-obsessed young man from a small Wisconsin town. By this time the reader is enamored enough of Scarlett, of her brightness and wit and bouts with chocolate brownies, to want to scream: Don't do it! But she does: she decides to defer her own career and marry the dreadful Donald. But not before having a brief fling with a black man in a little town where they're both student teaching--and in a hilarious scene nine months later, proud-father Donald is presented with a black son, and nearly has a coronary. After the resultant divorce, Scarlett and baby Frank kick around a little, even staying in a commune, until Grandpa--not such a bad guy after all--takes them in again. The book loses comic direction after Frank's birth (and Grandpa Greene is much better as a nasty old man than a crochety baby-doter), but in all, Ucko has written an extremely funny novel.