Mary Alice's story is told in flashbacks as she lies in the hospital recovering from an auto accident and haltingly recalls for a psychotherapist the sequence of events and conditions that led (as we discover in the end) to her shoplifting a sweater and driving madly off on her disastrous ride. Mary Alice's father is a fundamentalist minister preoccupied with his calling, and her mother, cold and timid, is equally preoccupied with ""what people will think."" As her senior year in high school draws to a close, they are forcing her toward an evangelical religious college, and during her therapy sessions in the hospital she finds the courage to resist them. Mary Alice's parents are types, but they are a change from the usual middle-class suburbanites that prevail in teenage crack-up fiction; similarly, the pattern of self-discovery is unoriginal and unexciting, but at least Mary Alice is free of the shallow glibness of too many troubled heroines. The weary title however, is all too indicative.