It was a tenement building at the centre of the drug-addled, punk-edged, permanent riot that was iO’s corner of the Lower East Side of New York City in the ’80s and 90’s. There iO grew up – or rather scrabbled up – under the broken wing of a fiercely protective, yet wildly negligent mother. Rhonna was a showgirl, actress, dancer, poet. A widow by police murder, she was also an addict. She doted and obsessed over iO, yet lacked an understanding that a child needs food and sleep and safety. Unfolding in animated, crystalline prose, this is an emotionally raw, devastatingly powerful memoir of one young person’s extraordinary coming of age – a tale of gender and identity, freedom and addiction, rebellion and survival in the 1980s and 1990s, when punk poverty, heroin and art collided in the urban bohemia of New York’s Lower East Side.