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Fourteen-year-old Joseph Flood is the victim of his mother Betty's addictions to crack and alcohol. An African American boy living in a North Carolina ghetto neighborhood, Joseph has little chance for survival if his soldier father doesn't come home soon from Iraq to sort out the mess into which Betty has gotten herself and their son. Living in a shelter and being bussed to yet another new school, Joseph's life looks like it's hitting bottom. He's afraid to leave his mother, but he knows he needs to find his own path before it's too late.