A poignant, breathtaking fiction debut, Halfborn Woman is the story of Arlen, a painfully observant girl who comes of age in early 1970s' Tampa, Florida. When her charming rogue of a father walks out on the family, everything changes, and her mother, Olivia, whose passion and insecurity make her difficult in the best of times, now rides a terrifying slide between depression and rage. Arlen is left to play handmaiden and cheerleader to a woman who, feeling brutally rejected, now rejects her. Only in the aftermath of one of her mother's increasingly frequent beatings can Arlen find something like the love she's been denied, finally cradled in Livvi's apologetic arms. Nor can she find any real support in the new life her father has created for himself and the irredeemably banal trophy wife he's picked up. And, trying desperately to make her way between these two worlds, Arlen finds herself ever more lost. Unable to accept the true affection of her first boyfriend, Shems, she experiments instead with the fascination she is able to engender in a middle-aged neighbor. But nowhere is she able to replace the love she feels her mother denies her. And as her life at home moves almost inevitably into deepening cycles of abuse, Arlen soon begins to test her own limits - and those of the life that now traps her.