Harmony is the central character in this story which is centred around her experiences as she grows up. But there is a second story line that intersects – about a naked girl that is rescued from the sea by Harmony’s aunt and how Harmony’s family react to this action.
Harmony has had an unorthodox upbringing with a somewhat ‘hippie’ mother who does not believe in bras for young girls and has largely home schooled her. But when the story opens, Harmony’s mother is gone and she is left in the care of her mother’s boyfriend – who does not think of her as his daughter and mostly ignores her and forgets to buy food for her etc.
Mel, the aunt who rescues the girl from the sea, tries to look after Harmony, but has her hands full with 3 boys and several part-time jobs/charitable enterprises.
Each person in the family connects to other characters, so Mel’s oldest son dates the rescued girl’s – who is mute and appears to have lost her memory – psychiatric social worker.
The story moves slowly, full of the minutiae of Harmony’s life, and the everyday occurrences of the family, the characters are slowly painted in until they become vivid in their totality. And the girl found on the beach is the central pivot around which the rest of the characters and the story revolves.