The aspect of the novel that is less successful is Morris's caricatured depiction of Loomis' neighborhood, filled with large, shaved-headed men wearing gold earrings, driving SUVs, selling crack cocaine, and sporting snake tattoos. The neighborhood becomes a symbol of degeneracy that the community largely ignores, contrasted with the murder in which a younger Loomis was involved that the community seems unable to forget. Unfortunately, the descriptions of the neighborhood and the lost souls who inhabit it are so extreme and theatrical that they only take away from the development of the more interesting characters. Even for readers who have dealt extensively with child abuse and neglect, Fossum's life in the second half of the book may require a large degree of suspension of disbelief. However, the central characters are strong enough that it is likely that this book will appeal to a wide range of individuals in the field of mental health who are interested in reading a sympathetic fictionalized account of the effects of institutionalization on an individual returning to a community.