August Gallagher is a sweet and intelligent Brooklyn girl just trying to find her place in the world during the turbulent 1960s. Unfortunately, her mother, Alis, doesn't make things easy for her. Bad choices, poor parenting and abusive men create chaos at every turn. Yet, through it all, August reluctantly remains a devoted daughter and continues to be Alis's emotional paramedic.
Along the way, August finds friendship, romance and makes a few dangerous enemies. When Alis hits rock bottom, August is forced to come to terms with the fact that it's finally time to cut the dysfunctional cord to save herself from Alis's emotional grasp.