At not quite twelve-years-old, Marcie Jenkins weighs 155 pounds--all because she has a mean and hopeless drunk for a mother. (Her father, an advertising art director from whom Marcie got her drawing talent, lit out years ago.) On Friday nights Mom, a typist in a library, brings home bags of ""treats""--candy, ice cream, and fattening junk food for Marcie to gorge on while Mom drinks herself into stupors. Marcie tends her selflessly, spending hard-earned babysitting money for ginger ale and lemons for Mom instead of for art supplies for herself. Then Mom goes on the wagon and joins A.A., and Marcie joins a group for the children of alcoholics. This sets the stage for such pseudo-insights as Marcie's recognition that her ""emptiness wasn't a hunger for food"" but for something Mom ""never could give her."" Corollary: ""I am responsible for my life."" Now, when Mom falls off the wagon and brings home a brutal stranger who mistakes Marcie for Mom in the dark, Marcie finds the strength to seek help. The assistant principal of her school arranges a juvenile hearing, and the court finds her a foster home. Though Mom calls her up there and pleads with her to come back, Marcie refuses; and presumably her life improves. One-dimensional characters in a dismal, sententious tract.