DG is five the first time her mother goes away. She’ll go away again and again before DG finally understands why: mental illness and a manipulating husband. DG’s family aren’t like other families. Her father moves them constantly. Moving, along with the stigma of mental illness, isolates the family. In public, they seem the perfect American dream. In private they grow increasingly unstable. Darling Girl unfolds in a series of vignettes spanning ten years and four continents. Traveling through the fifties and sixties and from apartheid South Africa to the capitals of Europe, the family live like so many dancing bears in a traveling circus with her father as the ringmaster. DG’s story is both personal and universal. She’s on a journey from innocence to experience; to the realization that her mother’s illness isn’t the family’s only problem, it’s not even the main one.
About the Author
A native of nowhere and a traveler everywhere, Ms. Watkins has been on the road since the day she was born. Although rooted in the deep South, she has visited all seven continents and particularly enjoyed being ship-wrecked in Antarctica. Having worked in banking, computers, a nonprofit educating girls about STEM opportunities, and in education teaching middle-schoolers everything from American History to Comic Books to Philosophy to Writing, she retired in 2014 and began writing shortly thereafter. When not writing or traveling, she reads and putters in the garden. A survivor of a large family, she has one stepson, two grandsons, and daughter-in-law, all of whom she adores. She shares a home with her husband —Mr. Wonderful – three cats, and a great deal of clutter.
"Darling Girl is the deeply affecting coming-of-age story of DG, a young girl trying to find her place, her identity, and her bearings both in her dysfunctional family and in a series of far-flung locales around the world. Her life is dictated by the work of a nomadic, self-centered father and the psychological crises of a struggling mother. Populated with a pack of siblings and a cast of multi-cultural characters, this vividly cinematic tale is driven by the sometimes wobbly but always true compass that is DG's bountiful heart."
—Sarah Bird author of Above the East China Sea
"Terry Watkins writes with heart and immediacy, shining an intimate light on children's experience of the taboo of mental illness. At turns funny, poetic, and gut-wrenching, this is a family story rarely heard."
—Ariel Gore author of We Might Be Witches