The book narrates the story of Jan, a 15-year-old girl, whose mom has married severally. This time her mom has bumped into a really terrible man whom Jan can’t stand. Aggrieved, she asks her mom to choose between the man and her. Unfortunately she chooses the man and this marks the end of Jan’s stay in her mom’s house. Luckily she succeeds in finding a shelter and she puts up there for a good amount of time. Here she encounters racial aggression from other dwellers; some even threatening her at some instances. With time; life becomes worse and due to lack of means for upkeep and owing to the frustration in the world alone, she throws herself into the careless world of sex and prostitution-the ultimate jungle of destruction. Next she moves to a group home which apparently is better but then she knows the world of drugs and night clubs which keeps her busy. She manages to go to high school, then college before meeting a man she loves and they get into a considerable relationship that lasts for some time.
But she becomes even more addicted to the life of drugs as she continues with education. At school, her performance is super. She is proactive in out of class activities as well and plays a leading role in the Guys and Dolls production of spring. In the company of her female friends they move frequently in the streets of New York. Drugs and boys are a common trend for them, a life they find fast and exciting, regularly exchanging boyfriends for sex at their pleasure. It is during her senior year in high school, chaotic though, that she begins to put pen to paper in writing about the life she has lived, her experiences coupled with frustration and desperation.
Erlbaum brings out the frustrations of an underprivileged adolescent girl-used and oppressed in a world with tools to facilitate self destruction. She equally manages to bring out a picture of some success even in the midst of troubles and tough environment for a disadvantaged girl child. That she manages to go through school despite such a ragged background is a true illustration of bad ways, transformed.