Rita Mae is a 13 year old living in a prison island with her Dad who is a prison guard. Her hair has been bleached blonde by her mother since she was a baby to disguise her Hispanic heritage. There is basically nothing for her on the island and she dreams daily of escaping to Hollywood.
The book basically the story of three generations of girls in Rita Mae's family. Her grandmother was the daughter of Hispanic immigrants who wanted to become a star, but instead was installed in a Hollywood brothel. Her daughter, Rita Mae's mother, was a desperate social climber who plotted and manipulated to marry the son of a rich man (Rita's dad). When the husband failed to live up to her expectations, she became bitter and hateful.
The story is darkly comic, and really sad. It seems like Rita Mae has no one who really loves her enough to fight for her, or take care of her properly. I had qualms about what she did at the end because her dad seemed like a sadsack character, but ultimately, she was the child and she deserved to be taken care of.