Alice begins dating a student named Steve. They become very close, but she also begins to date a student named Marc. Alice also moves into an apartment with Lila and a one of Lila's friends, Pat.
One day Alice is in class when she begins to feel sharp pains in her back. She tries to wait them out but eventually leaves class because they get so severe. Marc comes and picks Alice up and begins to drive her to her apartment. As soon as they drive up to the apartment Alice notices cop cars outside. She ran up to the first police man she saw. He tells her that her friend, Lila has been raped and is being looked at by a doctor in the ambulance in the parking lot.
Alice feels horrible. She feels responsible for what happened to Lila. She accompanies Lila to the hospital but things don't turn out well. Every officer, nurse and doctor focuses on Alice's success story and Lila begins to fade into the back round. They then go to the police department. Once again the officers pester Alice and forget about Lila. Finally Lila begins to look through mug shots to try and identify her rapist. She asks Alice to leave the room. Shortly after this Lila comes out of the room and tells Alice she no longer wants to look for her rapist and that she just wants to return to a normal life.
Lila and Alice move into a new apartment but things don't work out. Eventually Lila tells Alice that it is too hard for her to live with Alice, the strong rape victim, when Lila is not. She immediately disconnects from Alice and they never talk again.
The ending of the book is a brief summary of what has happened to Alice since. She moved to Texas and became a heroin user, with her new boyfriend John. They eventually broke up and Alice moved to California. After spending some time in California Alice was ready to move back to New York and began to stop "dabbling in heroin" as she puts it. She lived there for quite some time until returning again to California.