It's the seventh ridiculous day of August, 1971. A drought has besieged Red Clover, South Carolina and the heart of seventeen-year-old Karlene Bridges. Her big sister, Gloria Jean, is pregnant, and everyone carries on as if she were incubating the Light of this World-but Karlene feels hysterical at becoming an aunt at such a young age. Billy Ray Jenkins, former heartthrob, joined the United States Navy six months ago, and Karlene has been incommunicado ever since. To soothe her jangled nerves, she has taken up songwriting-and she is terrible at it-truly terrible. And now, Spencer, her songwriting buddy, might get drafted and end up in Vietnam, sloshing around in rice paddies, which agonizes Karlene because she knows that peace of any kind is unobtainable on this whirling blue planet. Through the eyes of its sharp-witted, big-hearted protagonist, Luddy weaves an intimate love story about a young woman who dives into the deep end of her own life and attempts to solve the riddle of Life itself with grace and aplomb.