Frances Mayes, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun recalls her childhood in Georgia, a place she can't wait to abandon. Her parents tumultous, alcohol-fueled marriage frightens and frustrates her, and when her father dies a slow death from cancer, her family crumbles further. A young teenager at this point, Frances hopes her mother will pull herself together and find a life's purpose, but instead, Frankye, spoiled and restless, sinks further into alcoholism. Entwined with this dysfunction are portrayals of eccentric relatives, stalwart servants, and lost lovers. Mayes recreates a place that she is glad no longer exists but has indelible memories. The landscape and her stories from a past era resonate for readers.