Mattie and her mother do not get along. Lucinda, Mattie's mother, has had a hard life raising Mattie alone and running the coffeehouse. She is tough and driven. Mattie is at a time in her life where she craves freedom while also craving approval. Mattie can never do anything to her mother's standards. Her mother wants to shelter and protect her daughter, but ends up smothering her instead. Lucinda does not breed self-confidence in her daughter but constantly criticizes. For Lucinda, life is nothing but work and worry. There is no joy. That is not a satisfactory outlook for an adolescent girl, on the verge of adulthood, to experience. Everything is fresh and new. Adventures await around every corner. But for her, there is nothing but work and criticism.