Charleen is thirty-something and newly divorced, left to support herself and her son on her meager income as a researcher and writer for a journal. She contemplates her life through smart and funny anecdotes about her past and her failed dreams of being a poet while she rediscovers joys in life through her friends and a new love interest. Just when she finds herself happy with her life changes, her father has a massive heart attack, her mother remarries, and she travels across Canada for the wedding. Much of the book describes Charleen's relationship with her mother, which is loving although very strained. Both women have ended a relationship with a husband and both are attempting to find their new roles. Everyday domestic activities provide material for squabbles, like whether to draw the curtains or how to prepare a meal, and Charleen struggles with whether to allow her mother to continue to scold her like a child.
This report prepared by Jessica Marler