On 22 September 1960, six girls gather behind the school toilets to read Peyton Place: Caroline the leader, Heather the caregiver, Kathy the actress, Raeleen the explorer, Greer the mystic and Margie the rebel. Like the historical heroines whose stories are repeatedly held up to them as models, these girls confront in their various ways the uncertainty and fears of adolescence. On 22 September 1995 we meet them again, confronting the issues of middle age.
Skinny Louie, daughter of Shanghai Lil, has a baby in the Begonia House on the day of the royal visit. Maura finds the baby and takes it home. Tia grows up with magical powers into the brave new world of the 21st century. Fiona Farrell's The Skinny Louie Book - always moving, often hilarious - is a breathtakingly accomplished debut. It presents a head-on confrontation with a New Zealand psyche rarely found in history books.