What sets Gloria apart is the fact that she pays attention, enough attention to discover that the neighborhood local war hero is a pedophile, that her best friend's mother is a Nazi sympathizer. What makes her different is what she learns from her father when the first black family moves into the neighborhood on Detroit's east side, and what she learns about her own, sometimes dark heart when the homes of the affluent kids are literally picked up and moved to make way for the I-94 Expressway. What makes her different is what she learns from the books she sneaks out of the adult section of the public library. Books about love, sex, and sorrow.
What makes her just like every other girl is the crush she has on the neighborhood leather-clad bad-boy.
Written in accessible narrative verse, the subtle rhythms and metaphors are engaging. As a glimpse into the profound and often melancholy moments in a young girl's life, the theme is timeless.