In these twelve stories Thomas is most concerned with the flaws in familial relationships, but her analysis never turns bitter. Thomas used what she called "telling detail" to animate her characters as they repeatedly trump their family's needs with their own desires, and children are often the most prescient of all about the self-destructive plans of the adults around them.
Dorothy Thomas dropped out of high school and taught school in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, to help support her family. While living in western Nebraska, she began to write short stories inspired by the insights afforded by her position as a live-in teacher in the homes of her students. She began to publish her stories in magazines such as the New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly and eventually gave up teaching to write full time. She also published two books--Ma Jeeter's Girls and The Home Place, both available in Bison Books edition--and became part of the writing community centered around the literary magazine Prairie Schooner.