Rory Hendrix, the least likely of Girl Scouts, hasn’t got a troop or a badge to call her own. But she constantly checks out the Handbook from the elementary school library to pore over its advice for tips to get off the Calle, the Reno trailer park, where she lives with her mother, Jo, the sweet-faced, hard-luck bartender at the Truck Stop.
Rory’s been told she is one of the “third-generation bastards surely on the road to whoredom.” Sassy, vulnerable, and wise, she’s determined to break the cycle. As Rory struggles with her mother’s habit of trusting the wrong men, and the mixed blessing of being too smart for her own good, she finds refuge in books and language. From diary entries, social worker’s reports, story problems, arrest records, family lore, and her grandmother’s letters, Rory crafts a devastating collage that shows us her world while she searches for the way out of it.