At the age of four, Anne McTiernan is left by her mother at a boarding school. Overcome by sadness from the neglect she experiences there, Anne emotionally and physically starves. A doctor, appalled by her excessive weight loss, forces Anne’s mother to bring her home, but she is still not safe.
Set in working-class, Irish-American Boston of the 1950s_1960s, Anne transitions from a malnourished state to obesity to obsessive dieting. Without love and support from her family, Anne decides she must take full responsibility for her own life during her last eighteen months as a minor.