Despite having dirty-blonde hair and fair skin, Laura Chinn is mixed-race: the daughter of a Black father and a white mother, which on its own makes for some funny and insightful looks at identity. Laura’s parents—both Scientologists and nonconformists in myriad ways—divorced early in Laura’s childhood, and she spent her teen years ping-ponging back and forth between Clearwater, Florida, and Los Angeles (with an extended stint in Tijuana for good measure).
Laura lived alone and raised herself for long periods of time, but don’t worry! Her mom’s alcoholic boyfriend was always nearby to supervise. She also lost family members to horrific tragedies, started drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes when she was eleven years old, and dropped out of school when she was fifteen, all the while completely obsessed with and scarred by her severe acne condition.
This is not a sad story. There is Jell-O wrestling. There is an abnormal amount of dancing. There is information about whether you can drink gallons of sangria while taking unregulated Accutane acquired in Mexico. But mostly there is love, and ultimately there is redemption. Laura shows how with grit, determination, and an openness to the good in the world, we can overcome almost anything to find love, happiness, and acceptance of ourselves, zits and all.