All twelve-year-old Elizabeth Dagmar Johnson ever wanted was to suffer so she could be a great artist. Madame DuBois, her French art teacher, always tells her to reach deep inside and paint what she feels. Unfortunately, Elizabeth always feels happy. That does not make for great, gut-wrenching, emotional art. It makes for Nice, Pretty, Colorful, art and she is not happy about that at all. Then there was a fire at her school. Nothing too dramatic, but she was sent to stay with her grandparents for two weeks. That should have made for huge amounts of suffering and it did, sort of. She found out some strange stuff about her grandparents such as: her grandma knits purses; her grandpa has an unnatural affection for the hardware store and is addicted to Mine Sweeper; she hates peeling apples; her Uncle Chip did something crazy with a spoon. She had to endure a meeting of the Red Hat Society, an organization of really, old ladies. She had to listen to way too many weird stories from her seemingly psychic grandma. Finally, she had to suffer through her grandpa's hospital visit where she was forced to tell her grandma some "stories" of her own so she wouldn't be sad and cry. To top it all off, she inadvertently fell in love at a most inopportune moment. Did Elizabeth suffer enough to make her dream of creating a masterpiece and getting on Madame DuBois Wall of Honor come true? Only one way to find out . . .