New York City free-lance journalist Donofrio (the Village Voice, etc.) writes with pluck and humor of her life as a bad gid--""As in the gift who got pregnant in high school."" Thanks to her innate wit and drive--and a scholarship to Wesleyan--her memoir has a happy ending as she makes a creative odyssey out of a working-class Connecticut tragedy. By the time she was in junior high, Donofrio had mastered the art of hiding her intelligence behind a smart mouth and a bad attitude. Daughter of an explosive Italian cop (later a detective) and a dourly submissive mother, she learned early that her hometown of Wallingford, Conn., had a self-perpetuating caste system--and she was a member of the Italian working class, the kind of girl who didn't get to go to college. Donofrio and her girl-gang took perverse pride in acting like boys, riding ""real low in cars, elbows stuck out windows, tossing beer cans, flicking butts, and occasionally pulling down our pants and shaking our fannies at passing vehicles."" Secretly, however, site carried around the bad news about college like a wound that wouldn't heal. Although obsessed with the idea that her father was spying on her (he told her she would ruin her reputation by ""riding in cars with boys""), Donofrio soon got into more and more trouble, culminating in ""the age-old trouble."" Pregnant, she quickly married a greasy loser who shot heroin while she smoked pot and dreamed hippie dreams. When her little son Jason entered school (her rejected husband headed for Viet Nam), the bad-girl-turned-mom went after her dream. Attending expensive, liberal Wesleyan on scholarship tore down the barriers that had hounded her as a girl; then she went on to attend Columbia and realized her life-long fantasy about being a writer in N.Y.C. Funny and pithy, although it loses steam when Donofrio hits the good life.