Astrid Magnussen is 12 years old living in LA with her mother. She and her mother, Ingrid Magnussen, live a solitary life with little outside influence. Astrid’s father, Klaus Anders, left before Astrid was old enough to remember him. Astrid relies only on Ingrid and has trouble fitting in at school. However, Ingrid is self-centered, cold-hearted and eccentric. She lives by a set of her own rules and shows little interest in Astrid, seeming to forget she has a daughter at all. As a result, Astrid fears abandonment above all else. Ingrid begins dating a man named Barry Kolker. Eventually, she finds out he is cheating on her, leaving Ingrid shattered and enraged. Ingrid breaks into Barry’s house and spreads a mixture of DMSO and oleander sap(he’s allergic) all over the surfaces of Barry’s home. The DMSO allows the oleander poison to be absorbed into skin. Barry dies and Ingrid is charged with his murder. Sentenced to life in prison, she promises her daughter that she will come back, but Astrid is sent to a series of foster homes.