A rollicking, spunky first novel featuring a single mother struggling to survive in the urban '90s. On the rare occasions when Anna Ferrara has a chance to think about her life, she can't believe the fix she's in. A 24-year-old with no job experience, two young boys, a recent divorce, and no child support payments, she's forced to scour all of New York City just for a chance to join the working poor. The job she finds -- delivering Homemade Cakes to seedy bodegas by the Brooklyn docks -- comes with a Teamsters union card and the likelihood that she'll be mugged or raped on any one of her daily rounds. But Anna, who was unwanted by her mother, abused by her father, and then betrayed by her philandering husband, has been a scrapper all her life; she manages to get by for a while with helpful friends and an occasional cathartic workout on the local handball court. Soon enough, though, the sexism she encounters at work, her sons' increasingly difficult behavior (they cut up their clothes with scissors, steal from her friends, etc.), her boyfriends' unwillingness to commit, and her empty bank account combine to wear her down. The all-too-human Anna begins mimicking her male colleagues by regularly cheating even those of her customers who've proven kind. When her lover returns to his wife, she finally goes off the deep end, wrecking a borrowed car on the FDR Drive and nearly killing herself and her children. The accident forces Anna to admit how chaotic her life has become; taking the advice of a convenient, fairy-godmotherlike Manhattan mentor, she begins to find a way out of her life's terrible mess. Less a fully realized novel than the hasty confessions of a spirited woman next door fighting to get through another day. Nonetheless, heartbreaking.