Life for 17-year-old "Chunk," James to his family, is not easy. He lives with his mother, a six-year-old sister and two recently born twin boys. The family is on welfare and his stepfather has been jailed for drugs. As with many teens like him, the high school junior has difficulty getting work or keeping a job.
The lure of the gang lifestyle, with its drugs, money and sense of kinship, constantly tugs at him. Chunk feels the weight of the world on his shoulders, and feels it is getting heavier by the day. He sees his escape as when he graduates high school and attempts to join the Marine Corps.
"Chunk" as James is known among his friends, cleans the family car every weekend even though he cannot drive it. The family cannot afford car insurance, thus no license.