This short novel has the same characters as another book by McCullers that I really liked The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. The main character is the same -- a young girl with mixed-up feelings and an impetuous nature and not many friends. This book takes place during the dog days of summer when Frankie spends most every day hanging out in the kitchen with the maid and a local eight year old boy, doing nothing, talking about stuff, being lethargic. Her brother is going to be married and Frankie develops an odd crush on the wedding, on the idea of happiness made real, and becomes determined to be a part of their happiness, even if it means running away with them.
While it’s hard to understand exactly why Frankie does the things she does, her emotions feel real and her actions, though sometimes mystifying, always come from the heart. McCullers' books always include a lot of adolescent confusion, poverty, and longing for not necessarily a better lot, but just a more peaceful one.