Maureen is the youngest of the Walls children, and there’s a significant age gap between her and the second youngest, Brian. While Lori, Jeannette, and Brian are all within a few years of each other, Maureen is the baby. Her older siblings love her, but there’s naturally a divide between them. Jeannette and Brian often play with each other, and Lori spends a lot of time with her mother, but Maureen is almost always depicted as being a lonely child. Separated from her siblings, and often unable to make friends her own age due to her family’s inconsistent lifestyle, Maureen spends much of her childhood with her imaginary friends, forced to create social situations in her mind that she doesn’t have access to in reality. While Jeannette rarely reflects on her baby sister’s experience, Maureen’s separation from her siblings was likely difficult for her – in a family where the parents are chaotic and unreliable, Lori, Jeannette, and Brian’s bond gives them the strength and support that they need to carry on. Although her siblings care for her, Maureen sadly does not receive that same support. Her older siblings have each other to lean on, and Lori and Jeannette are favored by their mother and father respectively, but Maureen is often left out of the dynamic. Her isolation has severe consequences as she ages.

Maureen’s social situation takes a turn when the family arrives in Welch, but it’s not necessarily one for the better. Quickly becoming a beautiful little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes, Maureen easily makes friends with her peers and practically begins living with multiple friends to escape the poverty her family experiences in Welch. The parents of these friends are well-off, Pentecostal Christians who hope to convert Maureen to Christianity and save her from her sinful family. While Maureen finds herself with a nicer roof over her head to sleep in, she cycles between families, including her own, creating no real familial bonds as she goes. All three of her older siblings are in on a secret plan to move to New York City, but Maureen, still too young to even think of moving, is left to fend for herself. Once the siblings are settled in New York, they have Maureen move in with them at the age of twelve, and there’s finally a chance for Maureen to establish ties with her siblings and escape the toxicity of life in Welch. But Lori and Jeannette are too busy to give Maureen the care she truly needs, and when Rex and Rose Mary move to New York, their unhealthy influence creeps back into Maureen’s life.

By the time Maureen reaches young adulthood, she’s squatting with her parents, addicted to drugs, and engaging in short-lived relationships with numerous men as a means of obtaining money. When Rose Mary attempts to kick Maureen out of their home, Maureen is enraged and stabs her mother. Her arrest leads to her being admitted into a rehabilitation clinic, and when she eventually emerges, her perception of her family has changed significantly. She realizes how damaging their entire dynamic has been on her mental well-being. She requests that none of them contact her, including her siblings, and moves to California, a place that she often imagined as paradise during her childhood. Many years later, Jeannette implies that a reconciliation may be on the horizon, but Maureen’s complete separation from the family is an obvious point of lasting pain for everyone. In many ways, Maureen represents the person whom all the Walls children should have become due to their parents’ abuse. Lori, Jeannette, and Brian are incredibly lucky to not have suffered from debilitating mental conditions or insurmountable traumas. A large part of what saved them from that fate was their unbreakable sibling bond – a bond that Maureen was never truly included in.