Heller's novel is a sort-of memoir of Barbara, an older schoolteacher who becomes friends with Sheba, a middle age teacher who has a sexual relationship with a 15-year old student. Barbara's notes are meant to be as unflinchingly honest as possible, to provide a clear way of understanding Sheba and Sheba's actions. What is most interesting--and disturbing--about this novel is not Sheba's behavior but Barbara's: there is a thin vein of mild obsession and control that underlies everything about Barbara, and the story is less about Sheba's poor judgment than Barbara's.I didn't find anything very thought provoking or insightful about this book, and despite the jacket blurbs, did not find it to be a satirical exploration of anything. The fascinating tension created by Barbara's obsession wasn't plumbed more--and perhaps I was reading more into it. It had the texture and taste of lesbianism--but then, all the relationships in this novel were infused with sexuality. I did not find Sheba all that intriguing or appealing, and spent most of the book wondering why Barbara put up with her--she was petulant and disloyal so much, that I can't help but wonder what drew them together.