Derek arrives at college full of optimism but also naivete. The love of his life is stunning Lisa. She is immature and she shocks him with a galling choice that devastates Derek and sets him on a destructive life course. Their poor choices, miscommunications, missed opportunities, misread signals, and human weaknesses lead them down punishing paths as Derek heads to war and Lisa into a loveless marriage. The story is compelling, poignant, and designed to evoke strong emotions in the reader. Real people have flaws and weaknesses which is the case here as we follow about eight years of their lives.