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Merrilee Hennessey, our lead character, is like many young adolescent girls as she grows up–rife with fantasies and illusions. But unlike some of her generation, she also bears the burden of budding addictions. Growing up with alcoholic parents (even though functional), her view of life is already distorted. Throw Elvis and James Dean into the mix, and you have a hopeless romantic, questing for love in all the wrong places.
We first meet Merrilee as she looks back upon her life and as she longs to provide stability for her granddaughter.
Then the story takes us through the yearning, the rejection, and the ongoing challenge that is her life. She struggles to provide a home as a single parent while building a semblance of a career. She hopes for love, despite every rejection and despite every obstacle along the way. She clings to these “hopelessly romantic” ideals long past their shelf life and despite every failure along the way. And she learns, finally, that even after she apparently won an earlier battle with eating disorders, an alcohol dependency crops up to challenge her yet again.
In the end, she finds that taking care of herself brings the most satisfaction. And then, almost as a side effect, she discovers love in the most unexpected of places.