Rebecca Thompson is living with her mother (Lorraine), her sister (Cynthia) and her brother (Will) in a small 1970's town in Missouri, Rebecca is drawn into a "war" with the town. Her mother who suffers from Bipolar Disorder slips in and out of normalcy with her cycles of behavior. Lorraine (Mamma) schemes against the townspeople often imagining wrongs and dragging her children into her plans against the "guilty". The oldest daughter Cynthia is removed from the world Rebecca lives in, as she is the eldest and is trying to create her own normal life. Will the middle child is confused and hurt, as such he is withdrawn from his family. Her mother is drawn into her mood swings, confusing the girl as she tries to create a normal childhood for herself.
This report prepared by Joji McGrew
"The Cornstalk Man" is a hilarious and touching fiction-drama about an eight year old girl coping with her mother's severe bipolar disorder in the 1970's, when little was known about the disease. It is a coming-of-age story, not only for the girl and her siblings, but for mental illness itself.