The Walls family consists of four children (Jeanette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen) her mom and dad, and her dad's mother Erma.
Jeanette is our narrator.The memoir is told from her point of view. She is a skinny and neglected girl struggling to have a life that is better than the one she grows up in. Her story is inspirational and motivational.
Lori is Jeanette's older sister. She is incredibly smart and often sides with her mother. She places the blame for the family's problems on their dad.
Brian is Jeanette's younger brother. He is quiet and shy, but he is also very protective of his sisters.
Maureen is Jeanette's youngest sibling. She is beautiful, but while the other Wall children learn to take care of themselves, she only learns to depend on others for handouts and help.
Jeanette's mom (Rose Mary Walls) is an artist and though she has a teaching degree she values self sufficiency. She is often selfish.
Jeanette's dad (Rex Walls) is an engineer. He is incredibly smart and good at math. He teaches his kids to read and learn, but he is also an alcoholic. This causes many of the family's money problems.
Erma Walls is her father's mother. She is rude and racist. She molests Brian and their is evidence that she may have molested her son as well.