Cole's tale is a little macabre, a little madcap: when Jean's mother dies slowly and painfully, she vows never to let her friends suffer in the same way.
There's one passage, where Jean is on a bus, that offered a particularly rich description:
Beside her, the girl took a bite of the apple, chewed for a while, and then she held up the paper towel like a plate under her chin and spat out the rumpled skin. Again and again the girl took a bite and chewed, carefully ingesting the flesh but eschewing the peel, until after ten or fifteen minutes a mound of green, translucent remains, like the desiccated husks of a dozen praying mantises, sat in the paper towel in her hand. ... she saw in this girl's actions the way of life itself. How it consumed, scraped clean, all that was sweet and good in a person, until nothing remained but the bitter, chewed-up shell.