Marigold Green calls herself “hideous, quaint and barmy”. Other people call her Bilgewater, a corruption of Bill's daughter. Growing up in a boys' school where her father is housemaster, she is convinced of her own plainness and peculiarity. Groomed by the wise and loving Paula, upstaged by bad, beautiful Grace, and ripe for seduction by entirely the wrong sort of boy, she suffers extravagantly and comically in her pilgrimage through the turbulent, twilight world of alarming adolescence.
"Readers will recognize signature Gardamesque qualities of later works: psychological acuity, endearingly peculiar characters, and sly, understated prose. The 87-year-old author is famous for writing about late-in-life characters (as in Old Filth, her masterpiece), yet she proves just as sharp-witted in examining the comic and ignominious difficulties of growing up." (The New York Times)
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