Alex has a lot of the same concerns most of us do growing up (exams, puberty and, in his case, a punctuation obsession plus a little quantum mechanics) but since his brain surgery, everyone in his life is behaving a little mysteriously. Maybe it's adjusting to life after epilepsy or maybe it's the pressure of his pending scholarship application, but Alex is starting to see the world differently. He's certain there's something rotten in his parents' marriage, and when his beloved hamster starts acting up too, he decides to investigate.
So begins the journey that takes him to the limits of his understanding, the edge of his endurance, the threshold of manhood, and the country music aisle in Virgin Megastore. And, on the eve of his English exam, to the door of his mother's home-made dark room. Will Alex have the courage to expose the terrible secret that lies beyond? Or would it be better for everyone if he buried his head in the sand?