When Joan Sullivan was sixteen, her sister got married on their sprawling farm in New Jersey. Bill Bradley, the senator and former NBA player, was among the guests. Suddenly, magically, Joan found herself on the basketball court with him. An athlete herself, awed by his dedication to both sports and politics, she slipped off her shoes, bunched up her bridesmaid dress, and tried not to smile too brightly when he took her as a partner.Five years later, Sullivan is in Des Moines, Iowa, working feverishly for Bill Bradley's presidential campaign. Haunted by the death of her father and feeling disconnected from her life in New York, Joan throws herself into this strange new world, intent on getting a political education. In a whirlwind tour of the U.S., Joan campaigns for Bradley, taking to heart his message that idealism and dreams are not dead in America.But Joan is not immune to the perils of politics. In one embarrassing moment, she resorts to a shoving match with a Gore supporter in the streets of Brooklyn. But through her experiences, Joan discovers some larger truths: that defeat does not necessarily mean failure; that although Bradley will ultimately lose the campaign, she and others can continue to work for change; and that voting is more than participating in politics; it is a personal and powerful way to participate in life.

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