In the year Twix and Smash were invented and Englebert Humperdinck was top of the charts, Dilly was born into the chaotic Shah family household in Bradford, West Yorkshire. One of several children, she grows up spirited and mischievous, not prepared to be the dutiful Muslim daughter her parents demand of her. Never out of trouble, she reads the Koran lying down, recites lewd Northern rhymes, rips up the neighbour's garden and keeps a goat for a pet.
Her dad has a ferocious temper, but lets off steam playing cricket for the York Shah Terriers. Her melodramatic mum's favourite pastime is spying on the neighbours and organising her children's marriages. With the extended Shah family - including Dilly's disgraced Aunt - nicknamed 'Auntie Climax' - all sharing one house, the scene is set for a cat fight. Against a backdrop of casual 1970s racism, tough schools and a colourful working class neighbourhood, Dilly mounts her one-girl campaign to be an individual. Throughout it all her little sister Egg is her best friend, but when she gets a boyfriend and their father finds out, all hell breaks loose and, once again, DiIly is the one to get the blame.