A brief description of the plot - Susie's miserable childhood with its abuse and aggression plus her attempts as an adult to reconcile with her father before he dies - may make this novel seem grim and heavy going. Yet, I was soon desperate to know what turned Tildy Baxter, Texan firebrand full of life and promise, into the mean drunk and terrible mother she became. It is absorbing and full of great zest for life, with a remarkably upbeat ending.
Tildy Baxter was gregarious and go-get-'em popular with all of her friends. She had an independent streak, and a keen sense of adventure that lead her to sneaking into circuses just for the fun of it, or staying in fourth gear in her Daddy's Model T, so that every time she hit a bump in the road she'd bounce. She was a great cook; her sweet-potato pie was famous in three counties. She loved to dance, and consumed novels and poetry like candy bars. She read more than anyone she knew, and could recite quotations from Shakespeare and Wordsworth and Dorothy Parker.