Eric Schroder is from Germany. He lives in Dorchester, MA with his father. Since he is from a different country, he feels that he does not fit in. He finds a pamphlet for a summer camp and applies, using the name Eric Kennedy, hoping that the name helps him fit in more. From that point in his life, he uses that name.
He attends college and falls in love with a woman, mostly referred to as "You". They have a child, Meadow. He never goes back to using his correct name.
The marriage falls apart and Eric gets visitation with his daughter and takes a long trip to Vermont, New Hampshire and maybe a run to Canada.
The book is really about Eric learning to know who he himself is. His love for his wife and daughter are really just lackadaisical attempts at knowing about himself.