This narrative is about the seven Vincent children: Caitlin, Sophie, Delilah, Gus, Sherman, Chicky and Minnie. Their mother is Rosie, and their father is Gus. This takes place in the 1960s and 1970s, and it contains 12 years of the childrens' (monkeys) lives.
Rosie is a very loving and caring mother who takes excellent care of her children. On the other hand, Gus is a very uncaring father. When Rosie and her children all squeeze in a closet to make their father come find them, he comes home, discovers no one there, and just settles down with a beer in front of the TV.
During the Thanksgiving dinner, Gus is very rude and spontaneous, and he tells his wife, "Why don't you go shoot yourself?" This causes the rest of the family to comfort one another during their anger.
All of them go to Bermuda for vacation where Dad dumps a whole glass of water on his head and Gus, the child, chokes. Dad loses his wallet, and Gus finds it, where everyone realizes that he stole the wallet just so he could find it.
Rosie and Gus start to not love each other like before. Rosie is having an affair with Kittredge, and Rosie has another child, Miranda, who is suspected to have been with Kittredge. However, Kittredge is having an affair with another woman also.
Rosie is found dead because while in her car, she was in a wreck with a train. Sherman suspects that it was a suicide. All the children have bad times with drugs, suicidal thoughts, and their alcoholic father.
After Dad has remarried, he decides to gather Rosie's ashes and sprinkle them in the place she asked to be. The Vincent family finally comes together at the very end while scattering their mother's ashes.