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Growing up, "fitting in" was a completely foreign concept to James. He was Asian, awkward, and poor in a sea of wealthy, white, attractive Midwesterners. At college in Boston, however, the diversity of the new world around him gives him hope that he can finally find his groove. With his intensely logical and linear MIT mind, he identifies all the parts of himself he believes are offensive to others, and methodically changes them one by one. In the pursuit of total self transformation - including body, skin, hair, clothes, personality, and behavior - James becomes completely lost and bewildered, having lost any trace of the person he once was. Along the way, he betrays himself several times for love, lust, and money - engaging in dangerous drug use and sex to please his lover, Stan, and manipulating his admirer, Michael, to pay for plastic surgery on his Asian eyes. Just when he thinks he has lost himself for ever, tragedy at home forces him to reestablish contact with the person he once was.