Sometimes in life, something happens, and it ends up defining us for the rest of our years. Something that perhaps was merely happenstance.
Or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This is the case for Betsy. She experienced something in college that she simply cannot shake. And it wasn't something that happened directly to her. But to her best friend.
Thus, the guilt began. It moved with her from place to place. It occupied a place in her mind that niggled at her at every opportunity.
She marries her college boyfriend. Has a child.
But always, in the back of her mind, is the "tragic event."
She uses drugs and alcohol to dull and obscure what she cannot come to terms with.
She sees trouble behind every face. She fears danger around every corner.
Betsy is not just a product of having lived through something that happened to her best friend, something she feels some guilt for. But it has "become" who she is.
This novel is about being young. Making mistakes. Survivor's guilt.
It is about losing someone very dear to you in a violent and horrific way.
It is only when she faces it, at a college reunion 20 years later, that the real facts unfold. And she then realizes that what she felt guilt for all those years was not in fact the real story at all.
But it shaped who she now is nonetheless.