Fonda Hallihan comes from a nuclear family—a nuclear fallout family. Her mom, a self-proclaimed “pottery savant,” mocks traditional values and joyfully scatters a troop of shell-shocked husbands across the country. At eighteen, Fonda wants to begin adult life, but Mom still treats her like a lump of clay she’s molding in her own reckless image. When Mom goes too far, all Fonda can do is flee, though she must abandon her little brother to Mom’s unnatural brand of parenting.
Fonda returns to rural Pennsylvania, to her childhood home and Bruce, her favorite pseudo-father. Hoping to rebuild the stable life she had before Mom screwed things up, Fonda finds folks have moved on: sweetheart Linc, who once offered his artificial Super Bowl ring and eternal fidelity, no longer wants to play house, and one-time best friend, Jodi, is now a two-time mother trapped in a “common-law relationship” with her legal guardian. The only person who hasn’t moved on is Bruce, who uses Fonda to lure Mom back into his life. Fleeing again, Fonda falls in with Shimmer, a Taser-wielding, pheromone-wearing, modern-day pirate who offers Fonda bunk space in her soda-can RV.
Armed only with cell phone and wisdom from a Mandatory Life Management class taught by a teacher who used the textbook for biceps curls, Fonda faces evictions, betrayals, spiritual pyramid schemes, street brawls with diaper-crazy moms, and her own far-too-easily-induced gag reflex. Ultimately, she must survive Mom’s increasingly selfish designs and mold a family she can manage.
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