In the early 1980s in Martinsburg, West Virginia, Dorothy lives with her bartending mother, her bar-attending stepfather, and her sweetly precocious little brother. At the age of nine, Dottie is plagued by insomnia, asthma, earaches, and bad teeth. She is lonely and insecure, but her keen perception enables her to see every detail of her impoverished rural surroundings and the strange characters around her. When her family moves to eastern Washington state, Dottie - confused, petulant, feeling more alone than ever, and furious at her changing body - battles her way through junior high, where she finds a measure of success and recognition in sports and academics. But her hard-won little victories are tempered by her troubled family and friends and she finds solace and distraction in alcohol, cigarettes, and general misbehavior. Dottie is indomitable: she emerges triumphantly as a young woman with limitless dreams and confidence in an uncertain world.
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