The Biographies of Ordinary People is the story of the Gruber family: Rosemary and Jack, and their daughters Meredith, Natalie, and Jackie. The two-volume series begins in July 1989, on Rosemary's thirty-fifth birthday; it ends in November 2016, on Meredith's thirty-fifth birthday.
The second volume follows the three Gruber sisters as they each leave their rural Midwestern hometown and try to make their way in the larger world. Meredith is determined to pursue a career in the theater. Natalie begins sorting and filing for an insurance company. Jackie... well, Jackie still wants to sing, and if the classical music world isn't interested in what she can do, she'll figure out how to do it on her own.
Set against the Great Recession, Presidents Obama and Trump, and a growing sense of national unrest, this final volume explores Meredith's question: is it possible for ordinary people to make art? It also takes us into the close emotional connections between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends, and the people we choose to love as adults.