An affecting work by a writer (Calling Home, 1991, etc.) who just gets better with every book. Even to those who know her best, Anna appears to be a model of self-control and poise, but she is a young woman racked by powerful emotions--rage, desperate loneliness, and a strong urge to self-destruct. This manifests itself in a shoplifting game she plays with local stores' security forces; she goads them into breaking the law by searching her within the stores' confines. When Anna begins to find things in her purse she has no memory of taking, her father realizes that he can no longer help her and plans to send her to live with her mother and new stepfather, Adler. That idea is anathema to Anna; in desperation, she sets out in her old car for her brother Ted's home in the southern California desert. But he is no longer the ideal big brother of her fantasies; Anna takes off again, and events lead to a vividly described, violent crash which she miraculously survives. In the aftermath, Anna reveals a surprising secret to her father; it's quietly shocking, and wholly believable. Anna's rapid spiral into madness is compelling; her prison may be of her own making but evokes compassion and empathy. A haunting tale that lingers long after the car crash, the revelation, and the last page is turned.