They want to know why. Why am I here? What happened to you, Chloe Doe?
That's what they ask at the Madeline Parker Institute for Girls - girls like Chloe, a seventeen-year-old prostitute. Chloe says she does what she does because she has to pay the rent, because she has to eat - and because she's good at it. The way she sees it, everyone's job has one or two things about it they don't like and her job isn't so different. Chloe has no intention of taking seriously the attempts to reform her; what other kind of future is out there for her and why would she want to look back at her past? But then she meets her counsellor, Dr Dearborn. Even if he does have crazy hair that makes him look like the Joker, Chloe soon realizes he is smart, and not just `book smart' - he is the first person in a long time to find the chink in her armour. The only person who can get her to remember the tragic event she would rather forget and finally persuade her she is someone worth saving.
Told in a heart breakingly sardonic voice, this is the story of a girl on the brink of self-destruction and the events that brought her there.