This is Jane Hamilton's first book, but the second book of hers that I've read. Her first book that I read was A Map of the World, which I reviewed here. This is the story of Ruth Grey, a neglected child who is trying to make sense of the mysteries of her life and the meanness in people's hearts. An adult Ruth is the narrator, and she describes growing up in a dysfunctional family, marrying an unemployed crazy man, and continuing to live with her emotionally abusive mother. It is a very difficult story to read, but it was well written (although I thought A Map of the World was better). It was my first book for the 2nds Reading Challenge and my fifth book for the Off the Shelf Reading Challenge. I rate this book 3 out of 5.