Frances "Gidget" Lawrence lives with her widowed college-professor father in Southern California. Anne is her older sister who is married to John Cooper, an obtuse but lovable psychology student. Gidget spends most of her free time hanging out with friends and surfing at the beach. She also has a knack for getting in and out of trouble. Gidget speaks to the audience during her journey to adulthood, letting them know exactly what's on her mind and what she's discovered about life. She also receives moral instruction from her father and gains wisdom from her experiences.