We start off with a little girl in the hospital. Something seems wrong with her, but they cant find anything.
Did you find whats wrong?
We are looking, we are doing the best we can.
How dare you!
The girl explains how she has been tested for things multiple times, but nothing ever comes up. At this point, as the reader, you start to question the mothers motives, as there appears to be nothing wrong with the girl.
Im sorry Ma'am, we cant find anything wrong with your daughter.
We learn that the 19 year old mother was married to a man that abuses her, although the abuse isn't clearly stated yet. Through context clues we can conclude there was verbal abuse.
Can you hep me fix my car?
No, figure it out yourself.
We do learn a little later in the story what the abuse was. The Husband, smokey, would tie sue sand smith down to a board and throw knives around her. If one would miss, it would of course hit her.
We learn that her husband, smokey, would always get sick during the winter time. He would usually cough up blood, and the wife, sue, always told him to see a doctor. He never did. So when he died, us the reader can assume the mother is over protective of her daughter that isnt really sick .
No! I dont need to see a doctor.
Please! You are really sick.
You should see a Doctor!
Mom, can I have some food please!
The Mother, sue, tells her NOT to eat anything, because this will take her longer to heal with her immune system. We can see the child growing weaker and weaker as time progresses throughout the book.