The nuclear family meets the atomic age.
The story involves Rose Chismore's youth. She flashes back and remembers her coming-of-age. Her recollections are sometimes less than sweet, particularly those of her troubled and alcoholic step-father. Her memories of Robin, her first-love, are much happier and she also recalls her colorful Aunt Starr -- who's visit is fun but also detrimental to her family's health. The setting of 1950s Las Vegas' bomb testing is increasingly significant to the development of the story.