Darling Girl is a coming of age story set in the 1950s and 1960s. Think Lady Bird meets The Glass Castle.
DG was five the first time her mother went away. Over the next ten years, she’d go away again and again before DG finally understands why: mental illness and a manipulating husband. A precocious and inquisitive child, DG is always listening to what goes on around her.
DG’s family aren’t like other families. Her father moves them constantly because of his work in pipelining. Moving, along with the stigma of mental illness, isolates the family. In public, they seem the perfect American dream. In private they grow increasingly unstable.
Darling Girl is told in a series of vignettes spanning ten years and four continents. Traveling through the fifties and sixties and from apartheid-era South Africa to Australia, to the capitals of Europe, they live like so many dancing bears in a traveling circus with her father as the ringmaster.
DG’s story is both personal and universal. She’s on a journey from innocent to experience; to the realization that her mother’s illness isn’t the family’s only problem, it’s not even the main one.