A young couple leaves Brooklyn with their baby to start a new life in a college town in Western MA. The husband has a dream: an unlikely invention he is working on at the state university nearby thanks to a fellowship. The wife, Elisabeth, is a writer, struggling to work while caring for her baby and adjusting to a new life she is not sure she wants. Into their life comes Sam, a senior at the local women’s college, to babysit their son. She’s a scholarship student from a working-class background, who contrasts her life and background with her friends at the college, and Elisabeth. The novel explores issues of class, motherhood, women’s friendships, romance, and the pressures of modern life.