They lived in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood where parents permitted the children to play without monitoring their activities.
The story moves from events in the late 1970s to current time.
In the current time, Gwen returns home to care for her elderly father who has broken his hip in a fall. While home, she meets Sean Halloran who informs her that his brother, Go Go has died, from suicide.
We learn about the character's lives since their teenage years. Gwen is married to Karl, a successful surgeon who seems mainly interested in himself, not in her accomplishments as a magazine editor. She realizes that she doesn't want to live in a home where her husband is the only thing that matters.
In 1978, the five friends often played in Leaken Park and while exploring one day, they came upon an abandoned cabin that was now the dwelling of a black homeless man. They refer to this man as Chicken George because of the chickens he keeps around the cabin. They become casual friends of this man who often disappears for long periods.
During the summer of 1978, Gwen and Sean were dating and in her bedroom when Mickey and Go Go travel to the cabin and become involved in something with Chicken George.
We learn different sides to this event which has a major effect on the group and ends their childhood innocence.
The story is described at a leisurely pace to match the uncomplicated life the characters had. The dialog shows the changes from when the characters were young to their maturity in contemporary times. This is an achievement that not that many authors are able to manage.
The novel is entertaining as we see the development of the characters and their parents as they deal with the incident and concludes in a manor that leaves the reader saddened that the innocence of childhood is such a fleeting thing.