This is the story of 13 year old Shug, who grows up in the Ozarks in a poor family, consisting of him, his drunk but sweet mother Glenda, and his violent drug-using (step)father Red. Shug is overweight, and is being teased mercilessly by Red, who also forces him to do break-ins in order to provide Red and his friends with drugs. We follow Shug through some hard months in his life. He has mixed feelings towards his mother, who flirts both with him and with other men, and he hates his (step)father. You know things are bound to go desperately wrong in this sad and violent tale about life on the other side. A very well written tale, short and easily read and one I recommend highly.