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Idaho Winter is a boy who, through no fault of his own, is loathed by everyone in the town where he lives - his father feeds him roadkill for breakfast, the crossing guard steers cars toward him as he crosses the road, and parents encourage their children to plot cruelly against him. Then he meets a young girl named Madison who empathizes with his suffering, opening a terrible world of pain in him. When Madison is attacked by dogs meant to harm Idaho, Idaho gets up and runs home, changing the course of the entire story.
Idaho soon learns that his suffering has been cruelly designed by a clumsy writer who has made his book meaner than all the others to make it stand out. With this information, Idaho locks the author in a closet and runs off, armed with the knowledge that the entire world is invented and that he now has the power to imagine it differently. When the author emerges from the closet and discovers that Idaho has made a mess of the novel, he sets out to find a cure to the story and bring its heart and mind together.