It is the mid-1950s in Lewiston, a sleepy town near Niagara Falls, famous only for the invention of the cocktail. Divorce is unheard of, mothers wear high heels to the beauty salon, and television has only just arrived. But with no siblings to provide role-models; a workaholic father chosen by most of her class as Lewiston's present-day saint; a mother who looks the part of the perfect 50s housewife but refuses to play it and a gambling-obsessed best friend, Roy, who is 30 years older, perhaps it's hardly surprising that Cathy grows up a little eccentric. Especially considering that the family doctor's prescription for her hyperactivity is a full-time job in her father's pharmacy - at four. Cathy is rarely out of trouble: whether it's asking why seeing Elvis below the waist is a sin, stabbing the school bully with a compass, breaking through police cordons to interview the Tuscadora Indians or swapping holy water for vodka to test the local priest's alcoholism. She even delivers Nembutal to a sleazy Marilyn Monroe who promptly makes an assignation with Roy. Her unusual adventures are personal and moving, but are always counterbalanced by the conventional concerns of 50s smalltown life - TV and rock 'n' roll, matching mother and daughter outfits, teenage rebellion, communism and catholicism.