In 1963, Ellie's mother, Doris Day Dingman, was crowned the Bosetti Beauty at Mr. Bosetti's supermarket, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the Dingmans began to fall apart." So begins 11-yr-old Eleanor Roosevelt Dingman's story. Ellie, who is about to start 6th grade in the small town of Spectacle, NY, is the oldest child in her off-center family. Her father works construction jobs, while her mother, Doris, has only one dream - to become a rich and famous actress. But when that dream leads to Doris's abandonment of the family, it is Ellie who is called upon to take charge.