Debbie Cavagnino lives with her mother Rosa in the Bronx, New York City. Life is tough, but they get by. We follow her and various friends growing up through the years at school, college and the work place; their struggles, sorrows and joys, the schoolgirl crushes, and mainly unreliable boyfriends. Rosa early on divorced her violent and abusive husband; she is strong and has come to terms with it, but at a deep level, Debbie remains emotionally damaged, and is vulnerable, having lacked a proper father figure. Debbie meets Frank, seemingly a good man. He is certainly personable and romantic, and they soon marry, set up house and home and have a baby daughter, Stephanie. But Frank has a dark side; he is unfaithful and he has a drug habit. Debbie’s dream life is shattered but she remains loyal and concentrates on bringing up the little girl. Frank is murdered, apparently by a drug pusher, but what emerges is truly shocking. . .