An inspiring coming-of-age tale that's also a sweet transgenerational love story. Abandoned by her itinerant actor parents at age six, Catriona lives with and loves her grandmother, ""the Peg,"" in spite of the older woman's many idiosyncrasies. The Peg is not like most grannies; she's a lanky, semi-retired doctor of international renown who smokes (a lot), doesn't keep a very neat house, and wears jeans and leather when she takes Cat, now 12, for ""a real zoom"" on her gorgeous Harley Davidson. But she loves Cat, protecting and supporting her in her ongoing struggles with nasty schoolmates, well-meaning but misguided school authorities, and social workers. When Cat's parents attempt to regain custody of their daughter, both Cat and the Peg are horrified, so Cat takes her case to court. This is Bawden (In My Own Time, 1995, etc.) at her best; the story of Cat's battle is often funny but ultimately serious, because it is a fight to spend her life with the person she loves most. As for the Pag--she may be one of the most eccentric, most beautifully drawn grandmothers to appear on either side of the Atlantic in some time.