This is a writer to keep watching. The book is a collection of short stories, with some being stronger than others. A few simply "end," without offering or pointing to a resolution. A contemporary writing technique, but it often comes out as weak writing. I ordered this book based on a short story I read by her in The New Yorker, which is better than all the stories here (and there are good ones here, but the New Yorker one -- published around Oct or Nov. 2007 was excellent). In this book the title story is the strongest as she explores friendship, oppression, freedom, and loyalty all in one story. The final story, about teaching sex education, shows some humor the other stories in this book lack (but which the New Yorker story had). It is definitely worth reading; an good debut set of stories. I'll be interested in her future work, especially if she works out more of her stories in a novel format. (Okay, I just saw she had a novel published in 2006 -- I'll put that on my to read list!).