Coming-of-age novel; feminist novel; lesbian novel; bildungsroman; picaresque; Southern novel; mother/daughter novel


Molly Bolt, the protagonist

Point of view

The narrator speaks in the first person, and we experience everything through her subjective recollections, perceptions, and assumptions about events and other characters.


Humorous; irreverent; bawdy; polemical; candid


Past, with occasional passages in the present tense

Setting (time) 

The 1950s and the 1960s

Setting (place) 

Southern Pennsylvania; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; New York City

Major conflict 

Molly Bolt struggles against institutional prejudices and other people’s hostility toward her because of her sexuality and liberal views in order to find her place in society and succeed in life.

Rising action

As a seven-year-old, Molly starts an informal business that consists of charging other elementary school students to look at her friend Broccoli’s penis.


Molly’s mother, Carrie, finds out about Molly’s “business” and explodes in rage, calling Molly arrogant and immoral and revealing to Molly that she is a bastard child.

Falling action 

Molly lives in defiance of her mother, who desires for Molly to be ladylike and proper, as well as in defiance of anyone or anything that tries to keep her from being herself and reaching her goals.


-At the end of Chapter 5, Molly foreshadows that she will see Leota again later in the novel.

 -Molly’s encounter with Mr. Beers in Chapter 7 foreshadows her unpleasant experience with Dean Marne in Chapter 10.

 -Molly’s thinking about Carrie while she discusses her film aspirations in Chapter 12 foreshadows the movie she will make about Carrie for her senior project.