Limerick-writer Spaight debuts with a stark and striking first novel--the tale of an Irishwoman who overcomes a tortured upbringing to find her way in the working world and, ultimately, her liberation as a single mother. It wasn't enough for Elizabeth Wallace to have an alcoholic, abusive father who began raping her at age five: She also had to cope with her unstable, friendless mother, whose behavior included nocturnal visits to their rich neighbor's garage, visits culminating in arson and suicide. From this awful life Elizabeth was rescued at 16 by a factory job, where she soon began having adventures with her coworkers--other young, single women. But as time passed, the others married and quit work, while Elizabeth stayed without attachments. Once she fell for a man who talked with her about the books she read during breaks at work; but her inability to speak of the past and her inexperience with men doomed the relationship--although not before she had followed the man home and thrown herself at him. It isn't until her father's death that Elizabeth, by then in her mid-30s, can vent her rage by defacing his grave and begin to have a life that's really her own. A vacation trip alone to Ibiza provides a sexual experience in which Elizabeth has complete control, so that she can finally proceed willingly and with ease to the next stage in her liberation: being a parent without a partner. Frank in its depiction of the long, painful recovery from childhood abuse, Spaight's clear voice sends a strong message in the cause of equality and independence for women.