Slow-witted, 12-year-old Davey lived with his neglectful and sometimes abusive mother, Lois, and his older sister, Joanne, until Joanne moved out at 17 to get married. She was pregnant at the time, and now Davey baby-sits for her son, Dennis, as Joanne follows in her mother's footsteps. Davey narrates the present, while alternating chapters fill in events from the past about Davey's and Joanne's childhood; how Joanne became Davey's surrogate mother (she was seven, he was two); how she eventually gave up trying to raise him and keep house and joined a gang; how she finally became what she most hated -- her mother. Gypsy Davey -- as he is nicknamed by his only friend, a drug dealer who is later killed by a rival -- finds solace in riding his bike, caring for his nephew, and the occasional visits of his absentee father. But Lynch's (Iceman, p. 146, etc.) story is less about Davey than about the two women in his life and their struggle against each other and themselves. Ultimately, they both lose, and it is Davey who suffers. A grim and penetrating look at the cycle of abuse.