* "Them" is the story of Loretta Wendall and her two children, Jules and Maureen, and their struggles with poverty, which negatively impact their lives. The story takes place in Detroit, Michigan, from the years 1937 to 1967.
* At the novel's beginning, Loretta is 16 years old, living with her unemployed, alcoholic father and anti-social older brother; her mother was institutionalized, and died several years later. Despite her circumstances, Loretta is an optimist, who constantly sees the excitement of potential.
* Loretta is good-looking, and there are rumors about her seeing the wrong kind of boys. Her brother, Brock, challenges her about this, especially with one boy, Bernie Malin, but Loretta is determined to date whomever she wants.
* Loretta goes to a party with Bernie one Saturday night, and after the party, they return to Loretta's room and have sex. The next morning, Loretta is awakened by a...
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