The plot of this story, without giving too much away, was simple and shockingly realistic. It followed a young girl, Astrid Magnussen, as she grew up, starting with her childhood, as the sweet and innocent shadow of her mother, Ingrid, willing to follow any rules that Ingrid put in place, even when she realized that they didn't always hold true for the real world.
The backdrop of this story will make your head spin as its alternates so rapidly between beautifully painted scenes of art and luxury, to grim surroundings marked with harsh poverty and a lack of anything soft.
Likewise, the characters are full of the same sort of alternating extremes. In just one foster care home Astrid finds herself in company with both a bleach-blonde, racist, cheap woman trapped with two demanding children and a disinterested husband, and a beautiful, African-American woman who teaches her how to attain beauty in life and get what she wants out of men. Good or bad, rough or gentle, you won't be able to stop comparing even the most lowly waitress to people you know, shocked at the similarities.
As for the protagonist? A brilliant young woman, absorbing aspects of every foster home that she finds herself a part of. Every step of the way you will sympathize with her, you will wish that you could intervene, you will imagine yourself being happy as she is happy and peaceful as she is peaceful and learning lessons as she is learning them.
And finally, the style of writing is some of the most delectable that I have ever seen. Every sentence is nothing short of a masterpiece. The author skillfully swirls together imagery and metaphors, every word working together to make this book one that you will keep going back to, keep reading over, keep going to peruse that one chapter yet again, until you realize that you have read the book from cover-to-cover over a hundred times.