Why did Valerie Browne, a good humoured, Irish mother, attempt to take her own life? Valerie finds herself in a psychiatric unit, unhappy, but successfully rebuilding her amiable facade. She makes some interesting friends in the institution, and these, along with her life-long friend, Sue, and her family, force her to confront her problem. Valerie turns her shame into strength, discovering that each of us must admit responsibility for our own lives. But the problem has deceptively deep roots, and Valerie cannot change society. Tragedy is inevitable. Ber O'Leary examines the differences between male and female cultures. Ireland's changing social landscape is explored, ridiculed and questioned, and relationships are shown to rise and fall under its influence. This contemporary portrait of Irish suburbia is unique and down-to-earth. It is a tale of spirited people not completely in control of their destinies.